Business Continuity Plan - Lessons from our Experience of Recovering from a Cyclonic Storm - Read the Whitepaper


Author - Vijay Kumar, Access Healthcare Services

In late 2016, a powerful cyclonic storm named Vardah hit the south-eastern coast of India causing significant damage to the infrastructure, and disrupting normal life. As Cyclone Vardah disrupted the whole host of services, including electricity, supply, transport, and mobile-internet connectivity in Chennai and other areas, it took almost 3 complete man-days to restore back with limited and essential supplies.

With our largest offshore delivery hub in Chennai, Access Healthcare took a proactive approach by initiating emergency response before the disaster, and putting in place client specific disaster recovery processes. This  whitepaper titled, ‘Business Continuity - Lessons from our experience in recovering from a Cyclonic Storm” provides anecdotal insights and best practices in business continuity management.

A case study on the success of our recovery effort was shortlisted for the “Most Effective Recovery” award by the Business Continuity Institute amongst hundreds of entries

Lessons from our experience in recovering from a cyclonic storm

1. Preparation is the key to effective recovery: The following steps help in preparing for a potentially disruptive event can reduce the fear, anxiety, and losses that catastrophes could potentially cause.

  • Create awareness of the potential impact of disruptive events to enable people to understand the significance of their roles during a crisis
  • Identifying and mobilizing resources ensures employees' safety and helps to resume "business-as-usual" without delay. 
  • Track the news to plan ahead
  • Integrating business continuity through strategic location planning helps to move the workload to other locations to ensure continuity of operations
  • Plan your technology infrastructure to minimize the downtime during the unforeseen situations
  • Testing the business continuity plans are important to ensure its effectiveness and to allow correction to the plan

2. Actions during the disaster

  • Availability of Management Team during the emergency enables better understanding and quicker response to emergency situations.
  • Coordination across business functions helps to get a real-time assessment of the situation and determine where intervention is required.
  • Communication and Coordination Plan with backup redundancy is essential to the success of the recovery effort.

3. Understanding the Impact

The intervention provided by our business continuity command center minimized the impact on the employees and operations, thus resulted in

  • Approximately 3,800 resources impacted
  • Shrinkage of about 60%
  • The backlog of 40% of daily volumes of 2 days
  • Identified critical resources helped in reducing the impact on the business
  • Support from centers in other cities helped in reducing the impact
  • Availability of food supplies, power and connectivity enabled employees to exceed daily production targets