The purpose of this paper is to stimulate discussion at the Continuity Forum, Business Continuity Management Conference, 5th November 2008.It is not a definitive guide to Business Continuity Management, and will not discuss the processes and practices in depth. Instead, it will address the challenges being experienced in the industry as the practice of BCM grows and matures and the state and government become more aware of the consequences of the failure of business to respond to a crisis. For instance, the current financial crisis which is being experienced globally.
Very few Business Continuity practitioners embarked on a specific career in Business Continuity Management. Many of us have found themselves accidentally in the profession or have had BC included as a part of our responsibilities either as a result of work that took place in Y2k or after a specific risk that has been identified in the company, or even to respond to a customer request that the company demonstrate its resilience in order to gain, or retain, business.Many Business Continuity practitioners lack formal training, and have gained experience during a project. Other practitioners have extensive experience in the red and blue light services (Emergency Services) and the Defence Forces.
Business Continuity Management is clearly defined in a number of standards and guides worldwide, which allow practitioners and management to work toward the same outcome. So why are there differing views of the practice and process of BCM?
Many executives and managers view Business Continuity Management in a linear fashion. Awareness is raised around a risk or potential risk to the business, some buy in is sought and via a project or similar, resources are assigned to the project and once the project is complete, it is assumed that the process will assimilate itself into Business as Usual.In some cases, even where there has been an project to initiate Business Continuity, the project funds have been spent, the PM has moved on, and efforts may have fizzled out into a Business as Usual (BAU) process invested in one Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or less. What this means is that the Business Continuity responsibility is added to a list of other duties. And we all know how that one plays out.Another approach has been to include Business Continuity Management into the Finance or Risk functions of the company. This approach often focus’s on company policy, and audit of compliance with that policy. The results of a Continuity Employment Survey, Continuity Forum News October 2008 shows that 2/3 of continuity managers who responded from the Australian and New Zealand marketplace were appointed internally, and have not undergone formal training.
Our challenge therefore, doesn’t lie in defining or adopting standards, it lies in our ability to champion change. Our ability to articulate the benefits associated with the practice of solid Business Continuity Management, and to embed the process into BAU.How many new hires have been taken on with risk management, IT management or other ‘related’ professions, to take on the Business Continuity Management programme of a company, with little or no experience or understanding of BCM or it’s standards and practice?How much money are companies spending on to upskill this new Business Continuity Manager whilst the impetus for the programme is lost?How many companies hire a consultant to kick start the BCM programme, only to find that staff are not trained along the way?How well are we as continuity professionals championing the benefits of a focussed Business Continuity Management Programme together with the core competencies espoused by DRII and BCI?
This leads on to my next question for this forum. What are we doing as Business Continuity Professionals not only to act as change agents for the projects that we work on or the companies we work with, but also what are we doing to further both ourselves and the profession?Are we students of the industry and proponents of continuous improvement, or have we traded on knowledge of standards and practices without doing the hard yards.
As Business Continuity Professionals, we are required to have a numbers of skills ranging from negotiation, consulting and project management to name a few, and to know information about a wide range of topics. It is not enough to know about a specific industry or an individual business function, our knowledge needs to be deeper and wider ranging.We talk the talk, but do we walk the walk. Are we up to speed on the standards and best practices in the industry? Other than attending forums and seminars, what do we do to stay on top of industry trends, corporate practices and world affairs which may impact on business in New Zealand? Do we truly understand what our managers and executives want out of the business, and how we can contribute to a successful outcome?A recent study by Continuity Forum showed that only 40% of participants saw themselves in the profession in the long term, and very few respondents had undergone formal training and derived their knowledge from a combination of sources including self training and knowledge transfer. How many of us belong to professional associations, do we as individuals actively seek membership of organisations which offer recognised professional certification, peer review and industry best practice? And last but not least, do we as professionals extend some of our knowledge and practices, and give back to the community? Do you freely give of your expertise and knowledge to institutions who cannot afford to employ a consultant e.g., schools in NZ have had to produce individual pandemic plans. Do you encourage your children to understand the What’s the Stan Civil Defence programme?
In New Zealand and Australia a number of options are available on the marketplace, ranging from international organisations which offer training together with certification, to local and regional conferences, workshops and training. It is up to us all to ensure that we have the appropriate training, networks and skills in place to not only perform our roles responsibly and professionally, but also to live up to the code of practice and professional ethics of the profession.
Without putting too find a point on it, the difference between a project or a profession, or compliance versus commitment, is not just the company policy and approach, it is about us as Business Continuity Professionals.It is not enough that we know the theory behind the practice of Business Continuity Management, we have to show leadership. What skills do we have that can be leveraged to contribute to the success of a BC programme? Where can we improve? What can each of us do as individuals to ensure that we are the best that we can be, and that we educate and guide others along the way.Many companies choose to kick start BCM programmes with a project. It doesn’t mean that it has to end there. If you have been chosen to lead in this arena, it begins and ends with you.
And now I will hand you over to Dave Thompson, for the discussion following on from this presentation
It’s not about the plan<br />How does one end up as Business Continuity Professional?<br />1<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />
The company initiated a BC or DR project and I was assigned to the team.<br />I worked for a consultancy firm and we saw an opportunity in the marketplace.<br />I worked in ES or DF and found work in the BC profession after leaving.<br />2<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />Planned or Accidental?<br />Most BC Professionals did not embark on a career in Continuity Management<br />
It’s not about the plan<br />Differing Views of BCM<br />3<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />
A Business View BCM?<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />4<br />Many Managers view BCM as a linear process<br />
Business Continuity Management is complementary to the Corporate Risk Management process.<br />Business Continuity Management is a process and not a project.<br />Business Continuity is part of the strategic business processes.<br />5<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />A View of the BCM Professional?<br />BCM Lifecycle BS25999-1<br />BCM is a continuous process<br />
It’s not about the plan<br />What are we doing as Continuity Professionals?<br />7<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />
Continuous Professional Development, Webinars, Conferences, Forums, Mentor and Coach etc.<br />Staying networked and involved in the Business Continuity profession locally, nationally and internationally.<br />8<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />Planned or Accidental?<br />It is not enough to just have BCM experience<br />Actively championing BC, campaigning for change.<br />
Disaster Recovery Institute International<br />(Institute for Continuity Management)<br />Professional Practices<br />Code of Ethics<br />Training<br />Member Certification<br />Vendor Certification<br />Skills based membership grades<br />Business Continuity Institute<br />Professional Practices<br />Code of Ethics<br />Training<br />Member Certification<br />Mentor Scheme<br />Good Practice Guidelines BS25999BCI Benchmark<br />Skills based membership grades<br />Business Resilience Certification Consortium International<br />Code of Conduct<br />Training<br />Certification<br />Business Resilience Model<br />Consistent with BCI/DRI Professional Practices<br />Skills based membership grades<br />9<br />BCM Project or Profession<br />