4C Insights

Q&A with our Business Continuity Management Experts

  • It has been a busy year for our Business Continuity Management (BCM) experts, and indeed all organisational resilience professionals, as they have worked around the clock to ensure businesses and public organisations keep running as smoothly as possible during the pandemic. BCM has been high on the agenda of virtually every organisation, highlighting the importance of “just in case” management.

    In this article, we ask some of our experts a few questions about the importance of BCM and what it means to them.

1. How do organisations assess the maturity of their BCM programme?

Ben White, Senior Consultant

“Before an organisation can do this, they need to know what ‘good’ looks like. When I discuss BCM maturity with our clients I often first ask this. Whilst we have excellent guidance in the form of the Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), this will often apply very differently depending on the client’s size, scale, and scope of operation.

We often break down the component parts of the BCM Lifecyle and look at what “good” looks like for each level. For example, if we look at a functional level of BCM on the Governance and Policy element of the lifecycle, we might check for the following:

  • The organisation’s Business Continuity Framework, policy and plan have been read and understood by all members of Business Continuity community.
  • Relevant documents are stored centrally and all members of the Business Continuity community across the organisation know how to access and use them.
  • 3rd Parties and suppliers are fully integrated in the Business Continuity programme.
  • Business Continuity coordinators are in place for all relevant functions, with alternates for each role identified.
  • Governance of the Business Continuity policy and programme is regularly reviewed at pre-agreed intervals, or following significant change.
  • A flexible and comprehensive programme that is actively managed and continues to develop and enhance organisational resilience.

Of course, these statements would vary for each organisation depending on where they are on their maturity curve. What is important is working together with organisations to develop this maturity model. Whilst we have some ‘off the shelf’ models and requirements, it is always better to work with organisations to see what ‘good’ looks like for them

A key aspect is then not just assessing current maturity, but assessing what you want it to look like in the future. That way you know where you are working towards and how you can best use the often-limited resources you have.”

2. Why should organisations invest in Business Continuity?

Josefine Rosén, Customer Delivery Manager and Senior Consultant

“As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has so clearly demonstrated, organisations operate in a complex world with a wide variety of uncertainties. There are many risks we cannot anticipate (known as “black swans”) and organisations are dependent on a large number of suppliers and partners.

Business Continuity Management can lead to a deeper understanding of an organisation, what it delivers, and what aspects of it are most critical. With this deeper understanding, Business Continuity plans can be developed, which illustrate how critical processes, activities and resources can be maintained in the event of disruptions and interruptions.

These plans facilitate quick decision-making, which can help reduce the risk of financial costs, loss of reputation, or interruptions to critical business processes.

In summary, Business Continuity Management is important as it contributes to flexible, resilient and prepared organisations, ready to meet the uncertainties surrounding day-to-day business.”

3. When crafting a Business Continuity policy and programme, what do you prioritise?

Björn Nevhage, Senior consultant

“When developing Business Continuity Management policies and programmes it is important to ensure that there are sufficient resources (for example, personnel, time and money), and clarify responsibilities and mandates. For example, you could initiate a steering committee with high-level executives to follow up on strategic goals and assign resources. Make sure that BCM coordinators are also employed for each critical process and activity.

It’s better to start small-scale and then take a more comprehensive approach. Quickly identify the most critical processes and activities, and initiate pilots in these parts. It is also useful to synchronise BCM processes with complementary ones, such as risk and vulnerability and crisis management analyses.

It is important to embed BCM policies and programmes into everyday business, and to involve all employees that are impacted by this work. Additional training may be required for key stakeholders in different areas (for example, 15 minutes of training for general personnel, a half or whole day’s training for personnel in critical processes and activities, two days for BCM coordinators, and so on).”

4. What part of the Business Continuity lifecycle do you enjoy delivering the most, and why?

Mathilda Jansson, Consultant

“Having delivered several Business Continuity projects and programmes for a range of organisations of different sizes, complexities and types, I keep coming back to the Analysis phase of the Business Continuity lifecycle as one of the most rewarding parts. There’s something fascinating about supporting our clients through the process of identifying the critical products and services in their organisation, and seeing how it all fits together. It’s all about getting the right people in the room and providing a platform for discussion – ensuring that dependencies and critical resources are identified and assessed.

Every organisation is different, and I enjoy the challenge and creativity of delivering a service and product designed and developed bespoke for an organisation´s needs. The end result of a Business Impact Analysis is always pretty similar, as it should follow international standards, guidelines and best practice, but the journey always looks very different!”

5. As we are now nearing the closing stages of the COVID-19 crisis and are able to focus on other areas, how do you regenerate the need for proactive Business Continuity?

Nils Kjellgren, Principal Consultant and Head of Service Development

“Business Continuity is all about the capability to continue the delivery of products and services during and after an incident. We analyse our deliveries to find critical activities and resources, we conduct related risk assessments, and we make continuity plans for how to uphold these deliveries when something unexpected happens. In sum, we build our readiness for the unexpected.

We are now, hopefully, at the beginning of the end of the pandemic and it’s now time to further develop our analysis, assessments and plans through the use of real life experience and key learnings.

Organisations have most probably introduced a work from home regime and now we need to reconcile these learnings in order to further improve our continuity plans. Many organisations have also had problems with their supply chain, which have caused a lot of work and perhaps even led to dissatisfied customers and lost revenue. Again, these and other learnings need to be reconciled and then utilised when we update our Business Impact Analysis, Risk Assessments and Business Continuity plans.

So to regenerate a proactive approach to Business Continuity, now is the time to review and update your analysis, assessments and plans based on what your organisation has learned during the pandemic. There is a high risk that by waiting a few months to do so, many of those pandemic lessons will be neglected or forgotten.”

6. Finally, who would be your dream Business Continuity client?

Ben White, Senior Consultant: “Formula One. Not only do I love the sport but it is an extremely complex circus that travels the world, week in week out, delivering many different products and services that are critical to the brand and just putting on a formula one race. There is so much complexity here and so many external factors, including political issues plus natural hazards and a very complex supply chain. It would just be really interesting to conduct a Business Impact Analysis of a Formula One race weekend, let alone the wider organisation involved with putting on the championship. Of course, the validation part of the lifecycle would need to coincide with the Monaco race weekend!”

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