In previous blogs, we described what business continuity management (BCM) was and the five steps to implement it effectively. Now let’s look at why it’s so beneficial.
Let’s begin by remembering how widely the effects of a disaster can be felt. If an individual company experiences a disruption, it can be devastating for the people who work it or rely on its products or dividends. But imagine large-scale disasters, like the Japanese tsunami or the bush fires in Australia,that put many businesses out of commission. If the companies cannot get back up and running quickly, the effects are multiplied because the tax base is affected and economic recovery delayed.
BCM is critical because it looks beyond dealing with the emergency itself. It takes into account what will be required to get the business up and running as soon as possible and keep it and its dependants working and contributing to the economy for the long term. The failure of BCM affects the company concerned, a number of people who will experience personal disasters when operations cease, as well as government.
One could even argue that BCM is not only a risk management process, but also as a basic human right because it provides:
- Employment continuity by making sure employees have a job/ workplace to return to after a disruption / disaster.
- Confidence continuity by ensuring the staff and stakeholder retain their confidence in the ability of the business to recover from disaster.
- Social continuity by ensuring that the state will not be negatively impacted financially through the non-collection of taxes.
BCM (or the lack of it) thus has far-reaching effects. In order to make it work, stakeholders across the business and its value chain all have to be involved: managers, process owners, strategic planners, project and procurement teams, key suppliers and directors all have to be involved in managing risk. It goes much deeper than just preparing for a major event—a flood, a terrorist attack or the like—but of preparing the business and its employees for anything. An effective BCM plan based on international best practice will generate the following six clear benefits:
- Minimise the effect of a disruption on an organisation;
- Reduce the risk of financial loss.
- Retain company brand and image and give staff, clients and suppliers confidence in the organisation’s services.
- Enable the recovery of critical systems within an agreed timeframe.
- Meet legal and statutory obligations.
- Measure the level of compliance to international Business Continuity standards from the Business Continuity Institute.
Next time, a look at what BCM failure looks like.