This is the first part of a four-part series on Business Continuity Management (BCM)
Establishing a business continuity management (BCM) program may be perceived as a daunting task for any organization. Some may feel that the idea of dedicating time and resources to plan for a large-scale interruption that may never happen, such as a major terrorist attack or pandemic, may seem completely wasteful and counterproductive. Others may believe they don’t need to plan for smaller-scale events, such as a power outage or problem with a supplier, due to their size, position in the marketplace and/or staff expertise.
There’s no doubt that being well positioned to manage an unplanned event is important to any business. Did you know, however, that there are several additional reasons why every organization should establish a BCM program?
Benefits of a BCM Program
The exercise of BCM planning involves taking an all-inclusive view of your business and asking hard questions. Much of the work in putting together the business continuity plans comes from the data gathering and analysis phases that provide the foundation and key inputs, primarily the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Assessment (RA).
Pursuing this crucial planning can help you see your business in a new way. It’s a unique opportunity to:
- Uncover the real value the organization provides and force the business to clearly define its true key products/services along with evidence to support that claim, including financial or market analyses. This is particularly true for a company that offers a wide variety of products/services; what’s at the core? what happens when you can’t provide a key service to customers for a day? a week? Preparing a response helps you to articulate priorities and answer those difficult questions.
- Reveal any single points of failure and identify the critical activities and dependencies that support the delivery of key products/services. When you uncover key vulnerabilities, you have the opportunity to assess how to re-engineer them to make improvements.
- Recognize inefficiencies and areas of the business that require improvement and may even find new opportunities. For example, the BIA may identify that your primary and backup supplier are both dependent on the same supplier for their product, which happens to be the key input into your company’s core product/service. The business will likely want to consider the implications of a scenario where that common supplier is unavailable.
- Identify items that can be addressed immediately with minimal resources and/or financial commitments. This includes quick wins such as purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone and instructing staff to call the number upon declaration of a disaster. Then if/when an unplanned event occurs, updating the voice message to provide status updates, thereby simplifying a major component of crisis management communications.
- Provide valuable input for strategic organizational planning and sales/marketing functions. Even in the absence of a disaster ever occurring, going through the process will help other areas of the organization articulate what’s really important to the bottom line and the company’s reputation.