The concept of ‘business continuity’ is relatively straightforward – identify and plan for possible disruptions, and put in place preventative mechanisms and workarounds to keep the organisation going.
However, there are a number of big picture steps that, if neglected, could mean your business continuity plan doesn’t work all that well when called upon.
If you haven’t yet developed your business continuity management (BCM) program, or if it’s been a while since your BCM program was reviewed, here are some key considerations to help ensure all your planning and preparation is actually effective when the worst happens.
- Understand the culture – attempting to develop business continuity plans without understanding the priorities of the organisation (vision and mission) and also the level of acceptance of risk (risk appetite) will result in a poor fit between the detail of the business continuity plan(s) and the organisation’s real needs.
- Understand the operations – properly understanding how an organisation works is the only way to ensure that ‘at risk’ or time-sensitive operations are identified and managed in the business continuity plan, while also identifying where non-time-sensitive functions are still important.
- Develop strategic interlinking – the business continuity management program and the risk management program need to work hand-in-hand. Without a robust and strategic risk management program effectively reducing the likelihood of disruptive incidents, the business continuity management program cannot be as effective at successfully seeing the organisation through disruptions.
- Be sensible – the size and complexity of the business continuity management program should be proportional to the level of risk. If implementing and maintaining the program costs the organisation more than the likely disruption event(s) would, it is not providing good value and overall benefit to the organisation.
- Tailor to fit – never attempt to take an off-the-shelf product/template and shoehorn the organisational needs into it. Every business continuity management program needs to be developed to the specific operations and needs of the organisation, or it simply won’t work when called upon.
- Keep it simple – A critical element as there is always the temptation to try and include micro detail and document low level requirements. A good business continuity plan should guide management in decision making in a crisis. A lengthy and verbose plan that includes pages of theory will never be referred to during an unfolding business disruption.
Giving some thought to these issues when redeveloping or reviewing your business continuity management program can help make it a successful investment rather than a disappointing under-performer.
Please contact QRMC for more information.