Business continuity management is not just about having systems in place for backups and to fall back on. There needs to be a mindset change in the employees who operate these systems and hence what is needed is the ability to switch to the backup system or the offshore site and resume operations within no time. What is Business Continuity? Business continuity (BC) is defined as the capability of the organization to continue the delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident. So, what is the question; What does mean Business Continuity Management (BCM)? Explanation.
The Concept of Business Continuity Management (BCM) Explanation with Meaning and Definition.
The entire businesses around the world are exposed to risk or disruptions whether it is from fire, equipment failure, natural disaster, communication failure, economic downturn or an act of terrorism. There can be hardly the superior hazard to any organization than the recession. The organizations experienced more disruptions than ever in the past years. These disruptions can ruin the organizations or make it difficult to survive. This is where Business Continuity Management (BCM) plays an integral role to smoothly run the business without any interruption.
Business Continuity Management is very important for the endurance of the business. Business Continuity Management is a method designed to ensure that the functions of an organization can be managed or restored promptly in the event of the internal or external occurrence. One of the most important objectives of the BCM is to reduce the legal, financial and reputational damage of these events which results, an increase in the profitability of a business.
Definition of Business Continuity Management:
We all need the support services that we often take for granted to be available to us 24/7 and whenever needed. Right from the telephone that we use to the internet connection, any downtime that this service faces is viewed unfavorably by us. But, given the uncertainties of the 21st century where a minor dislocation somewhere can have a cascading effect on the infrastructure, there is a need for business continuity management.
"The holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations those threats, if realized, might cause, and which provides a framework for building organizational resilience with the capability of an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand, and value-creating activities."
Simply put, the term denotes the recovery of the business or the service from an outage or disruption. The rapidity with which the service is restored depends on how well the business continuity was planned for and managed during the downtime and subsequent recovery. Business continuity management has been at the forefront of corporate planning in recent years because of the interconnected and integrated global economy where one outage to one service threatens the whole chain involved.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Cure" – Benjamin Franklin.
"It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." – Yogi Berra.
Business continuity management (BCM) refers to the management of core conceptual resources that address future threats to a business and help business leaders handle the impacts of these threats. This term is in the same vein of others, like business continuity planning (BCP), where business leaders try to identify and address potential crises before they occur.
Business Continuity Management is defined as a holistic management process that identifies potential impacts that threaten an organization and provides a framework for building resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its stakeholders, reputation, brand, and value creating activities.
The Theory of Business Continuity Management are explained below;
In theory, Business Continuity Management replicates crisis management to a great extent which has grown rapidly over the past decades, the main aim of eliminating focus of social and technological problems. Crisis management approach and Information systems (IS) defense is the foundation of business continuity management. The evolution of BCM started since the 1970s, identifying the main 3 stages of growth. The first stage, “technology mindset” during the 1970s was limited to the protection of corporate mainframe computers. After the advent of personal computers to end users in 1980s leading to the vast quantity of computer users in organizations, resulted from a rise in the number of transactions, compliance became regulation and legal requirement. This second stage was identified as “auditing mindset”.
The final stage “value mindset” in the 1990s became more focused on the requirements of business where business continuity management can act as to add value to the organizations. At this time of moment, BCM approach became more efficient by including improved protection for the whole organization, customers & suppliers, social and technical process. The technology and auditing mindset was limited to the protection of IT. Due to the increased use of technology over the past decade organizations are more dependent on it, which brings about the new risk for the business.
Some of the business completely rely on IT and operates day and night. A very small interruption can cause considerable loss of revenue and customer which results in damage to business reputation. 25% Companies who faced IT crisis from 2 to 6 days went bankrupt immediately whereas 93% of the companies filed for bankruptcy in a year that lost their core data for 10 days. In this escalating global business world and the integration of various economies generates fresh challenges have encouraged the development of business continuity management. The recent recession has more influence over outsourcing to save the production and labor cost.
Supply chain risk is greater than ever as new risks are coming from international economies. Companies like GAP and Nike found that these can have a poor impact on the reputation of the company. A little loss or delay from the single supplier can have a bad effect on the organization. BCM plays an important role to manage supply chain disruptions, it also adds towards the development of BCM. Extreme weather and climate change are seen to be affecting the growing organization's operations. Major events in the past for instance September 11, 2001, World Trade Centre a terrorist attack, July London buses and underground another terrorist attack, the 2000 energy crisis, pandemic flu more recently swine flu and natural disasters like Tsunami, latest in Japan, all these events have major influence on the development of BCM and created more importance for the organizations to have a business continuity plan in place to avoid all the problems and disruptions caused by the upcoming unknown events.
IT, globalization, supply chain, climate and weather, terrorism, pandemic are growing disruptions organizations facing day by day. These risks are linked together; the crisis in one part may possibly spread in various directions. BCM is extremely essential for the maintenance of the products and services while protecting the reputation of the business. BCM seeks the survival and profitability of the organization when disruption occurs. Improves the resilience capacity of the business against disruption; also recover from unexpected events. No doubt Business Continuity Management has started in terms of compliance while protecting Information System (IS), now has developed to avoid various short and long-term disruptions and adds value to the organizations. There are many drivers forcing reasons why an organization should have BCM in place.
Organizational reputation is the strategic asset of the company. Managing risk related to it, for example, negative news, bad feedback from customers, making financial losses, late payments, increasing stakeholder demands; has become the major driver for BCM. Furthermore,e it has developed into the main concern for most of the organizations. Non-timely wrong decision, lack of communication after the crisis occurs can lead to financial and reputation damage of any organization. BCM is not limited to fight against disruption, it also makes positive effective communication and how to handle the crisis situation in order to minimize the damage caused by the crisis.
Financial and reputational damage is directly associated with customers while coping with the recession, it is very essential to retain the existing customers and attract new customers besides meeting the needs of customers in a positive environment. Truly understanding the customer needs and mindset is paramount. Insurance provides the organization the comfort by transferring the risk, being able to repair or replace the items in the event of loss or damage caused by the insured peril. Business Interruption (BI) Insurance covers loss in the profit for a limited period of time after the incident. It provides some cover for the financial loss but doesn’t cover the loss of reputation, loss of customers, loss of business, and loss of employee loyalty.
Moreover, BI cover is limited to excess where losses incurred during those excess periods of time is not covered whereas BCM would prevent the losses incurred or minimize the impact incident occurred. Competitive advantage is another factor drives Business Continuity Management. In order to win the confidence of customers and suppliers, the organizations should able to prove that they have appropriate BCM in place by ensuring tested business continuity plan. It improves the customer trust and brand reputation by creating competitive advantage. The organizations that have BCM in place the leading responsibility remains with the senior management and board.
Although the organizations that have specific BCM departments tend to be rising. Uncertainty lies in the future; with the rise in various natural disasters like Tsunami, terrorist attacks, etc ‘Business continuity management’ has become inevitable. Business Continuity Management helps business go through these difficult times making sure of its survival in the market. BCM however, like all other good things also has its dark sides which without appropriate considerations can lead to a complete failure. Some of the issues that may be faced by business continuity management include financial issues where the majority of the company doesn’t have sufficient resources to have a business continuity management in place.
It also requires human resources to make sure of its success which might also be not available to the organization but as the environment in which organizations conduct their operation is highly dynamic to ensure that necessary actions should be taken to make sure that the organization has the resources for BCM to make sure of its survival in times of incidents. Moreover, as Business Continuity Management is highly demanding with certain needs in terms of resources most of the senior managers tend to retrieve from it but its importance has been seen in the last few years where companies were swallowed by the giant recession that the world faced and is still recovering from.
Hence measures should be taken and its importance should be alarmed among the management of organizations. Apart from resources and management, BCM is also threatened by the fact the there might be over-analysis of business. The analysis should be performed in the part of the business that is important or is directly related to BCM rather than analyzing the non-relevant part of the business. This can be assured by making allowing the head of the BCM project to decide the part of the business that has to be analyzed. Another factor that might lead to failure of Business Continuity Management is too much attention to risk which can lead to hindrance in the way of the project and the manager's will to paralyze the project in order to save themselves from risk.
Analysis of risk is, however, important to make sure of the success but when over-done it tends to cause hindrance rather than motivating the success of the project. Therefore, the accurate amount of risk analysis should be performed by the organization. Business continuity management is usually made too much complex and time-consuming which is another factor that causes hindrance whereas a good BCM practice will be easy, flexible and less time-consuming. One of the biggest hindrances along with resources in BCM is the belief where most of the organization believes that they don’t require one or they might be never hit by a disaster.
However, BCM is not only meant for disaster it might come in any face i.e. terrorist attacks, power or system failure, etc. Therefore, it is important for every organization irrespective of their size to have a BCM so that there is always a business continuity plan in times of crisis. The investment in business continuity is worthy because of the value it adds to the organization in a particular competitive advantage. On the other hand, the world economic crisis has a key impact on business continuity management. If we think we will die tomorrow then we will not do anything the same is the case with BCM. If organizations assume that they will shut down the business due to the financial and economic slump that avoids the concept of business continuity completely.
The concept of having BCM in place has been misunderstood in some cases. The likelihood of BCM to be effective in the times of disruption depends on if a company has a business continuity plan whereas companies without business continuity unable to survive. In short BCM act as a helping tool for organizations whether in the times of recession or minor interruption. Business continuity management is therefore complementary to the process of risk management that analyze the risk exposure and possible consequences of these risks to the business. It doesn’t just focus on the disruptions but also brings out the key improvements for the product and services which is required for the survival of the business.
However, with the help of business continuity management, all the business can fight throw recession if implemented appropriately. In addition, it assists in understanding the functions of organizations closely and deeply to enhance the performance and profitability while protecting and enhancing the reputation and brand value. The most challenging phase is implementing Business Continuity Management in the organization. Serious difficulties are faced by managers while dealing with employees, customers, and suppliers. Business continuity management practice is new and becoming more common. Communication plays the chief role in the BCM implementation process.
Possibly it should be involved at all levels of the organization so everyone should be aware of identifying the main threats and try to eliminate them. The continuity plan must be tested and maintained all times to ensure it works when the incident occurs. The need for BCM is more than ever mostly in times of recession as it acts as a useful tool for saving cost while improving the financial state of the business. Organizations exercise BCM to protect their brand, reputation, people and bottom line. In addition, it provides the foundation for attracting new customers. BCM is a great asset in times of recession. It must be understood that BCM not only adds value by preventing disruptions but also to recover quickly from the incident occurred.