Ironically, the more professional business continuity becomes, the more business continuity professionals need to acquire general business skills.
By Jeremy Capell, Head of Advisory Services, ContinuitySA
Business continuity is finally gaining recognition for the contribution it can make not only to managing risks and ensuring an organisation can recover quickly if a risk materialises, but for helping organisations become more resilient. Resilience is increasingly critical for long-term corporate sustainability as the business environment becomes more unpredictable and volatile.
One could say that in a world in which black swans are becoming more common, it pays to be able to bounce back from anything. That is the kind of combat-ready fitness that business continuity management can provide.
However, the danger is that, as the business environment continues to digitise and business processes and markets all move to technology platforms, business continuity professionals fall into the trap of seeing their role as primarily technology-related. This is a mistake. A business continuity professional is not primarily an expert in any specific business process or the technology that enables it, whether that technology is digital or the internal combustion engine—rather he or she must first become an expert in the way a particular business works.
If you think about it, a business continuity professional can only really contribute to improving an organisation’s ability to identify and respond to risk, and recover from a disaster, if he or she understands the business at a very granular level. What are the constituent parts, and how do they interact on each other and on each business process? Only once the links between a business’s operations are understood, does it becomes possible to build resilience.
For that reason, it’s plain that in order to achieve excellence, a business continuity professional needs to begin with a sound education in business, and preferably experience in the sector in which his or her clients operate. Such a person is then ideally equipped to acquire the specialist expertise and experience across all 12 pillars of business continuity, as identified by the Business Continuity Institute.
In short, business continuity begins (and ends) with business