SunGard Availability Services today announced a portfolio of Pandemic Response Planning services to help organizations develop and test preparedness plans that help safeguard employees and business operations during an influenza pandemic. The services help companies minimize the risks to business and information technology (IT) operations created by a pandemic where upwards of 40 percent of staff may be absent over an extended timeframe.
The SunGard pandemic services help organizations examine business and IT processes that may be impacted by pandemic-caused staff shortages. They also develop strategies to maintain information availability that help keep staff connected with business information so operations can continue during an avian flu pandemic.
In the event of a pandemic, organizations can be impacted in a number of ways, such as staff who have contracted the illness or reluctant to come to work because of fear of becoming ill, family members sick at home, schools and daycare facilities closed requiring parents to stay home, travel restrictions and disrupted public transport systems. Additionally, companies need to prepare for disruptions caused by business partners or customers unable to operate under normal conditions.
"As we inch closer to a possible avian influenza pandemic now is the time to review and update your organization's contingency and business continuity plans," according to the Gartner note “Scenarios for Avian Influenza and How IT Can Mitigate Risk” by Dion Wiggins, Steve Bittinger and Roberta Witty. "Even if you are skeptical that there will ever be an avian influenza pandemic, the cost of not being prepared far outweighs the effort to plan for such a world-changing event."
The SunGard pandemic services are designed for small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises. They leverage SunGard’s extensive disaster preparedness and information availability experience. The services offered are:
SunGard Pandemic Response Planning, which includes a response roadmap that examines pandemic risks, business impacts, business strategies and recommended actions. Other components include an incident management plan for senior management to lead an enterprise-wide response to a pandemic-related event and action plan template that provides a model to update any existing availability plans. The plans have action-oriented procedures that include decision point checklists, explanation of roles and summaries of potential exposures.
SunGard Pandemic Continuity Preparedness Assessment, which includes a comprehensive evaluation of existing availability and incident management plans, and identifies gaps where they fall short of industry standards for pandemic planning.
Incident Management Exercise, where SunGard consultants work with customers to conduct a simulated pandemic scenario, providing a controlled environment for companies to determine how well they are prepared and whether enterprise plans are understood throughout the employee base.
"Responding to a pandemic requires a new approach to disaster preparedness to help maintain information availability for all workers regardless of their locations," said Renate Noone, vice president, professional services at SunGard Availability Services. "The SunGard pandemic services help organizations address work-sharing and cross-training, and examine business and IT processes that need to be changed to address staff shortages. They also prepare organizations should technology outside their control – such as broadband carriers providing Internet access to workers at home – have performance issues that impact the ability to get work done remotely."