A specialist business continuity management (BCM) provider makes sense, but choosing the right one is critical.
By Luyolo Hela, Head: Public Sector, ContinuitySA
Business continuity has become a governance issue, and the recently released King IVTM report provides guidelines for how to apply its principles to public-sector entities. Principles 11, 12 and 15 specifically deal with how risk, information and technology are governing. Governing or accounting bodies in the public sector thus need to start placing more emphasis not only on what their business continuity plans look like, but who will be responsible for them.
The case for engaging a specialist service provider is strong. The State of Enterprise Resilience Survey 2016/17 shows that over one-third of companies surveyed globally (37 percent) felt they lacked the specialist skills necessary for business continuity—one can speculate that the skills deficit is likely to be higher in the public sector, which perennially faces budgetary constraints and expanding commitments.
Using a service provider also makes sense because it effectively removes business continuity from the capital budget. However, when choosing a service provider, public-sector entities must be sure to ask the right questions. These three will help:
- Can you deliver a tailored BCM solution? If a research unit is unable to function for a day or two, the effect on government and service delivery may be negligible, but if a public utility or a municipal department cannot function because its systems are down or its offices are unusable, then the impact is immediate. By the same token, the provider must be flexible when it comes to modifying solutions and configurations as needed.
- Do you have a robust process framework to ensure service and support are continuously improved? Good government is focused on improving services to citizens—its BCM must be able to keep up.
- How quickly can you design and implement a BCM solution, even though it might be complex? Government is larger and more complex than the private sector—a BCM provider must be able to cope.