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Operating through volatility: Five pillars to manage business continuity

May 27, 2022 10-MINUTE READ


In brief

Leaders are re-thinking business resilience and continuity, seeing these two elements as critical to the future of their organizations, customers, people and communities.

A five-pillar framework

Scenarios to consider in their impact on operations

Controlled impact

  • Commodity prices return to pre-war levels; over time commodity prices shift and potential inflationary results appear.
  • Consumer and business confidence increases, and companies and people return to pre-war investment plans and spending.

Ongoing impact

  • The supply of key commodities remains disrupted throughout 2022. Some countries continue to face oil and gas embargoes.
  • Commodity supply shocks lead to a sustained rise in prices in the near term.
  • Consumers cut back on some non-essentials and businesses focus on improving operational efficiency.

Protracted impact

  • A wider oil and gas embargo leads to significant structural supply disruption, particularly in Europe.
  • Commodity prices remain elevated and volatile into 2023.
  • Sustained price increases reduce consumer spending power, contributing to a significant decline in consumer and business confidence as well as a slowdown in growth.
  • In the case of protracted impact, there is increased risk of recession and possible stagflation in certain markets.

Business planning starts with asking the right questions

Potential actions to take aligned to the five pillars

How to begin business continuity planning and activation

Rapid response

A rapid response approach deals with the immediacy of the situation—this might include reinforcing your company’s near-term solvency, operational capability, supplier management or human resources management.

Business continuity

A business continuity approach is preventative and provides visibility into and understanding of the exposure of potential geopolitical risk and mitigation efforts, depending on scenario. This effort serves to “steady the ship” and support your company’s longer-term viability, in areas from brand image to financial impact. It involves activities such as stabilizing assets, confirming people capabilities and engaging in longer-term financial activities with suppliers, investors, etc.

The use of objective data which is critical to making analytically driven and accurate decisions. Learning to use your data now can help prepare to assess business continuity issues in the future.

The inclusion of subjective data from across the company, including internal or customer interviews. Subjective data can enhance and validate the general picture that objective data initially creates.

A detailed assessment of your exposure along the five pillars. This can help you quickly focus to shore up the business where needed.

Mitigation and scenario planning which will solve for the problems identified and help the business continue to operate despite the challenges.

Future shocks will require ongoing efforts


Rachel Barton

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Rachel advises business leaders on how they can drive growth and transformation agendas through disruptive technologies, data and leading-edge customer strategies.

Christopher Roark

Lead – Strategy, North America, Coast & Productivity Reinvention Global Lead

Based in Chicago, Chris leads Accenture Strategy in North America and is a senior leader in the firm’s Competitiveness practice.

Aneel Delawalla

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value

Aneel focuses on creating enterprise value at the intersection of growth strategies, operating model transformation, and employee experience.