Continuing our look at some of the frequently asked questions from the Good Practice Guidelines 2013 (published by the Business Continuity Institute).
Does business continuity contribute to good governance? Good governance is seen as increasingly important, particularly because it is thought to contribute to a company’s ability to continue trading. A formal business continuity programme, obviously, would help a company’s directors and executive management team really understand not only how resilient the business and operating models are, but also what the key value creators in the business are—and the key dependencies. Because BCM has standards and best practices, it provides a great framework to ensure that the company has taken a rigorous approach to these issues.
Perhaps as important, BCM also provides a way for the board to reassure itself that the continuity plans are regularly tested, and actually work!
What’s the difference between business continuity and emergency management? Emergency management typically forms part of the organisation’s plans for how to manage incidents, particularly those that require liaison with third-party emergency services, such as paramedics, fire-fighters and the like. If you like, emergency management deals with getting people out of an unsafe situation quickly, while business continuity focuses on what happens next. Clearly, the emergency management team and protocols will form part of the overall business continuity framework.
And, finally, what’s the typical profile of the business continuity professional? It’s clear that business continuity is a multi-faceted profession with big impacts on the organisation’s ability to survive. Current business continuity veterans come of the ICT profession, the armed forces or the emergency services. However, as the profession has matured, new entrants are joining from the management consulting, information assurance, risk and insurance, or compliance fields. As a profession, it demands high levels of analytical and project management skills, as well as investment appraisal.
Business continuity is also becoming an academic discipline, so increasingly graduates with formal business continuity training are becoming more common.
All in all, there can be no argument that business continuity is demanding, and requires both theoretical and industry knowledge.