Updated: May 6
6 May 2020 | Repost by AVS Business Continuity
BCM Framework, Concepts, Program and Best Practices - Part 2
Our previous part 1 of the article discussed about the different levels of BCM preparedness, defined as the state of “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.
This part 2 article aims to highlight the basic understanding of 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.
Developing a BCM programme and ensuring its effective implementation requires a good understanding of the organisational context for which the BCM programme is to be developed. Similar to any other programme, top senior management support and therefore accountability are key to success. With these, resources (human, financial and technology) are committed to develop and/or enhance the entire programme. Let us go through the key success factors from both organisational and personal levels.
Senior level buy-in
Senior management buy-in and support for BCM is without question, the most important consideration in getting BCM off the ground, sustaining it on an on-going basis and achieving the “wide awake” state. Senior executives set the tone for BCM. Unless they support and are fully engaged in the process, the BCM initiative will flounder. Unless commitment to BCM is demonstrated at the most senior level, the chances are that BCM will not be taken seriously and the efforts will be short lived. If COVID-19 outbreak does not escalate awareness and the need to pro-actively manage the crisis to the board agenda, then what would?
A properly implemented BCM governance structure is necessary to ensure that policies are observed and BCM obligations are met. The governance structure specifies the roles and responsibilities for BCM, how BCM decisions are to be made and approved, and how BCM status is to be monitored, reported and integrated into overall enterprise risk management framework.
Sound BCM process
The BCM process provides a logical sequence of activities to help organisations prioritise activities that are critical, identify requirements and strategies for business continuity, build plans and capabilities for responding to disasters, and test and ensure the currency and effectiveness of plans and capabilities.
Having a plan is just a by-product of the BCM process, and the process does not end with the production of a plan. BCM requires on-going commitment of time and resources to ensure that once a plan is developed, it remains current and relevant through a continuously process of training, testing, reviewing and updating. BCM, therefore, is not to be viewed as a one-off project but a continuous programme.
Continuous education and awareness
Generally, organisations have a poor understand of emergency response, disaster recovery and business continuity. Some think that none of these are relevant to their businesses as they incorrectly assume that public response agencies such as the fire brigade and police will take care of things when a disaster strikes.
Education is key to getting everyone on the same page on BCM. Brief senior executives on what is BCM, their responsibilities and the importance of their support and commitment.When a BCM initiative is launched, ensure that every staff knows what their BCM roles and responsibilities are and how they fit within the organisation’s BCM framework.Buy-in to BCM needs to be achieved not only at the senior level but at all levels of the organisation.
Due to the highly interdependent nature of businesses today, an outage experienced by one organisation may have a systemic impact on the entire sector. Taking a collaborative approach to BCM across an industry sector helps to preserve the economic and operational viability of the sector in the event of a catastrophic incident.
Industry and trade associations play a central role in forging collaboration in BCM within their industries and across industry sectors. They may do so by:
providing a forum for members to share information, exchange ideas and promote awareness of BCM specific to their industry
building an industry-specific body of knowledge on BCM to enhance the readiness of the sector to deal with catastrophic events or disasters
building a network of BCM contacts in the industry so that organisations may work co-operatively when a catastrophic event occurs in order to have the best chance of protecting their staff, facilitating recovery and sustaining customer confidence
serving as a liaison point for the industry with government legislators, regulators, public utilities, emergency services and other service providers on industry-wide matters related to BCM
Having a centrally coordinated approach ensures consistency in the way BCM is addressed across the industry, facilitates learning and sharing of knowledge, and provides leadership to improve the resiliency of the industry. Everyone benefits in the process and it is all about cooperation than competition.
Today, BCM is recognised as a viable full time profession with its own internationally recognised professional certification bodies and formal education programmes. This is one of the few unique professions that provide an individual the exposure and access to all levels and all aspects of an organisation - from the very top senior management level to the lowest operational staff, and across all functions of the organisation.
To be successful, the BCM practitioner must:
be able to communicate well with all levels of the organisation
have good social and inter-personal skills
be able to think strategically and be attentive to details when required
be flexible and adaptive to different environments and situations
be able keep cool and think straight when under pressure
have good business sense and be competent in BCM
BCM practitioners could opt to become members of BCM professional bodies such as the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) or Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) and other risk management related professional bodies and trade organisations to broaden their networks and knowledge, as well as an formal acknowledgement of such profession.
Click here to read the part 1 of the article that discussed about the different levels of BCM preparedness, defined as the state of “wakefulness".