Unexpected things happen having a devastating effect on organizations. Nobody can foresee when, if at all, their business can be affected by a natural disaster, technological failure, bomb threat, or any other significant incident. But it is possible to get  prepared to deal with business interruptions and to protect companies from disastrous impact. The functional area that studies and advises how to keep a business operational in any situation is called Business Continuity. It focuses on finding the ways to safeguard an organization against unforeseen events.

What Is Business Continuity

Business Continuity is the capability of the organization to carry on its operations and deliver its products or services at acceptable levels after a disruptive event or in spite of adverse circumstances.

Business Continuity is also a discipline and an iterative process which requires detailed planning at various stages.

  • Analysis stage involves thorough examination of the organization and its environment with the ultimate purpose of identifying internal and external risks and threats.
  • BCM Strategy Development is the next phase that exploits how to deal with the determined risks and with unexpected interruptions in general. The goal of this phase is to establish how continuity of operations and recovery from disruptions are going to be achieved at strategic and tactical levels.
  • Implementation stage focuses on putting into practice the safeguards at various levels - communications, IT recovery, premises, etc. In addition, the Business Continuity Plan should be documented to provide employees of all departments and at all hierarchal levels with a methodology and instructions to follow in case of business disruption or disaster.
  • Finally, all parts of the Business Continuity Program should be validated through exercising, maintaining and reviewing tasks.

Focus on Key Operations

Instead of focusing on how to resume business after stoppage, or recover after a disaster, Business Continuity strives to ensure that at least critical operations continue to be available at any time.

If key services and products cannot be delivered, consequences can be severe. Regardless of the circumstances, if the organization fails to meet its stakeholders' expectations, damage to the business processes and to the reputation can become too significant to be recoverable. Therefore every organization should strive to provide continuous delivery of products and services despite disruptions. A Business Continuity Plan is a roadmap for such a journey.

Success Factors

Executive support is the most important success factor for developing a viable BCM capability in any organization. An effective BCM Program should involve the participation of various managerial, operational, administrative and technical staff. The contribution of all these people becomes possible only if it is encouraged and  coordinated by upper management. In addition, the culture of the organization should acknowledge the importance and need for BCM and actively promote its growth. This objective is also attainable on the condition of executive involvement/sponsorship.

Building a BCM Program is a considerable task that requires a diverse set of skills, knowledge and experience. Therefore a team of professionals with various competences and relevant expertise would be the best option to accomplish this project with high efficiency and quality - with the BCM manager playing primarily a program management and facilitator role.

BC Solutions

CoDimensions offers services that can help any organization build a comprehensive BCM Program for any level of BCM maturity and/or validate the existing BCM capability against industry standards. For more information, please check our solutions and contact us.