top of page

BCM “Wakefulness” - Be Crisis Ready!?

5 May 2020 | Repost by AVS Business Continuity

BCM Framework, Concepts, Program and Best Practices - PART 1


BCM as a risk discipline is not something new, it has, in fact, been around for over 50 years to date. However, when the world is hit with pandemic outbreak earlier this year, it caught many organisations by surprise due to their lack of preparedness. Back in January 2020 when China was battling the COVID-19, many were probably thinking that, this would not happen to them. We can only imagine what would have happened, if China had not ordered a total lock down in the city of Wuhan and borders closure during the lunar New Year period. This part 1 article aims to highlight the basic understanding of different levels of BCM preparedness, defined here as the state of “wakefulness” and in our part 2 article, we will discuss what needs to be done at the organisational, industry and personal level to achieve the ‘wide awake’ state when BCM is fully embedded into daily operations of the business. It addresses issues related to the BCM framework, concepts, programme and good practices, and how to achieve success in BCM. This pertains now only to a pandemic outbreak but any unforeseen disruptions that could affect business continuity and organisational resilience. This article was first published ten years ago in a public BCM seminar, but still relevant as a good reminder that a failure to plan is planning to fail.

BCM wakefulness

BCM ‘wakefulness’ refers to the maturity level of BCM in an organisation or industry, and may be grouped into 4 states - asleep, waking up, getting up and wide awake. Each state is characterised by the degree of awareness and commitment to BCM, how BCM is governed and the extent which BCM is integrated into normal business practices.


There is little or no awareness of what BCM is, what the benefits of BCM are and why BCM is important. As such, there is no coordinated effort to develop business continuity plans for responding to unforeseen incidents.

Waking Up

In this state, concerns are raised on the lack of business continuity arrangements, usually after an incident that results in service interruption occurs. The lack of preparation in dealing with incidents becomes obvious when the organisation is unable to cope and business impacts become unmanageable. A review into the lack of preparation may be initiated and rudimentary plans may be developed as stop gap measures.

Getting up

This state is characterised by heightened awareness of BCM and focused concern at senior levels on the need for BCM. There is now realisation that BCM is part of good management practice. This may be driven by many factors, including experiences with past incidents, issues raised by auditors, legal or regulatory requirements, and demands from customers.

A BCM policy is established, roles and responsibilities for BCM specified and a structured BCM process with appropriate governance structure is implement. There is senior level commitment to BCM, and dedicated BCM resources may be deployed to oversee and drive the BCM process.

Wide awake

In this state, BCM is now fully integrated into all organisational processes and management practices so that BCM becomes embedded rather than an adjunct to daily operations. Whilst dedicated BCM resources may still be used, there is acceptance that BCM is everyone’s responsibility. There is corporate-wide focus on BCM from the Board through to every level of the organisation. As BCM matures, the focus shifts from “how do we recover from a disaster” to “how do we build resilience in our people, process, and infrastructure.”

The ideal state in BCM is to be “wide awake” and the above model has relevance to the success of BCM at the industry, organisational and personal level.

Follow our next blog (PART 2) that will discuss the key success factors required at each of these wakefulness levels.


bottom of page