4C Insights

Three considerations for embedding business continuity into an organisation

Mathilda Jansson

Business continuity must be embedded in an organisation from senior management through to junior level. When it’s part of your processes and your culture, then your business will be the benchmark for others to follow. Business continuity expert Mathilda Jansson explains more and suggests three considerations for embedding business continuity into an organisation.

Successfully embedding business continuity

It’s no secret that the companies that have successfully embedded business continuity into the organisation are better equipped to manage disruptions than those that haven’t. Achieving this across the organisation, however, is easier said than done. Imagine an organisation where business continuity is given the same level of attention as health and safety and staff have the same level of awareness around business continuity as information security. Let’s just say we’re not there yet. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t persevere. There was a time when health and safety and data security were overlooked in organisations.

Business continuity is business critical and, as Business Continuity Management (BCM) experts, we must work towards achievable goals as part of the embedding process. To do this, we have to understand the organisation – its dependencies and critical needs – as well as the current business continuity capabilities. Importantly, we must also accept that embedding business continuity into business-as-usual can only be fully achieved if it’s done on both a practical and a cultural level.

In my role as a consultant, I support many large international organisations headquartered both here in the UK and abroad. Embedding business across an organisation seems to be a recurring challenge, and one that the 4C team is often asked to support clients with. Obviously, there is no silver bullet for this and the ideal method will differ depending on the size, structure and business continuity maturity level of an organisation.

Three considerations for embedding business continuity

  • As a rule of thumb, success will only be achieved through a collaborative approach to business continuity, and within this, there are three important considerations for any embedding strategy:

  • Ensure senior management buy-in, for example through continuous programme briefings and workshops. If senior management is not fully committed to this there will be times when you feel like you are swimming against the tide. Involving senior management in the process will give them a better sense of the importance of business continuity, while bringing potential vulnerabilities that require allocated resources to their attention. Senior management buy-in will also ensure that business continuity is aligned with the organisation’s strategic goals and culture as well as being included in any relevant agendas moving forward.

  • Identify and train business continuity champions. Invest time and resources in the teams and individuals who will continue to develop and deliver BCM into the future. Cultural change takes time and champions will be the drivers of it, with the support of senior management. Giving them the tools to impact change and deliver results will help their and your cause moving forward.

  • Keep it simple. Business continuity can seem complex for anyone who is not a professional. If you present it in a language that the organisation understands, i.e., one that is fit for purpose and not full of business continuity lingo, you remove the complexity and make it more approachable. Successfully embedding business continuity is about understanding the organisation and its BCM maturity, and as such, adjusting the level of ambition and priorities accordingly.

Reap the benefits

If you can implement these simple but effective guidelines, embedding business continuity will be easier and the benefits greater. Benefits that include fewer escalating incidents and improved responses to disruptions. In turn, this generates cost-savings and improved confidence in the organisation by all stakeholders.

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