I believe that failure to plan for the 2012 Olympic Games will result in missed revenue opportunities, and in the case of increased security risks, potential business continuity issues for all of the UK’s businesses, not just those based in the capital.

Following research into business readiness for the 2012 Games from the likes of PwC and Deloitte, I am calling on all businesses to review their disaster recovery plans to ensure they are able to deal with the unique impact the event could have. While Deloitte’s research identified that worries about security are increasing, it found that only one in five companies surveyed will review their business continuity plans as a result.

Security and continuity is a huge concern for businesses at any time, but this one-off unique event provides a good opportunity to review plans and ensure that your company’s position is assured. According to research by The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, statistically the odds are against your business surviving if you do not have a viable disaster recovery plan. If disaster does strike, of those without a plan 43% never re-open, 80% fail within 13 months, and 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are forced to shut within two years.

More positively, 81% of respondents from across the UK anticipate an economic boost from the Games. I believe that with careful planning, UK businesses should be in a position to benefit directly from the £1.9billion economic impact London 2012 is predicted to bring.

The good news for UK businesses is that the Olympics could provide opportunities to increase revenue streams. However, the full effect of this will only be realised if companies are ready and able to deliver on both product and service fulfilment. Companies need to plan ahead and recognise where their internal infrastructure needs to be developed to cope with a spike in demand. More importantly, they also need to be able to leverage business solutions to turn those one-off purchases into returning customers.

I recommend reviewing existing business processes and infrastructures to identify potential gaps in service delivery. Here is 5-step checklist to ensure business readiness:

  1. Can any of your existing manual processes, such as purchase invoice processing be automated to free up staff to handle customer service queries?
  2. Review the resilience of your networks to ensure that they are able to handle peak traffic loads during the six-week Games. Don’t just look at external interaction on the network such as online purchasing, check whether payroll, HR and other internal systems can support the likely increased level of remote working, holiday requests and staff absences.
  3. Check network access and security levels can handle increased remote access by staff deciding to work from home or during alternative working hours.
  4. Investigate software solutions, such as CRM, to help manage increased interactions and opportunities with customers and other stakeholders and, more importantly, to extend the life of that customer interaction.
  5. Review your disaster recovery plan. Is it able to provide a fully operational, working back-up plan in the light of increased security threats that the Games may bring? Consider what would happen if peaceful protests turn into riots such as the UK saw last summer.