Monday, December 19, 2011

The principles of Business Continuity Management


The constant evolution of today’s corporate environment has prompted many questions on how we plan for business resilience. Changing business dynamics coupled with the current economic climate pose new challenges for business continuity management; while events such as natural and manmade disasters we have witnessed this year push BCM to the fore as organisations seek to protect their continual survival.
Most articles on BCM have highlighted how an effectively structured and implemented continuity plan can serve to protect high-value activities and stakeholder interest. We ignore how BCM has contributed to overall business success and competitive advantage.

Artco solutions aim to offer an insight into what in our opinion are the nine principles of BCM

1.       Strategic orientation
BCM is a strategic initiative. It should be integrated into the corporate strategy planning level. Top management recognition and adoption of this strategic initiate is paramount to achieving organisational excellence. The business continuity manager has a pivotal role in establishing the competitiveness of the business through aligning BCM processes strategies and plans to corporate policy and structure.

2.       Leadership
Proactive business continuity leadership ensures that reputation and business performance are sustained from the moment disruptive event begins. It is important that business continuity is introduced at board level since it enhances the organisation’s long term competitiveness.

3.       Governance
BCM is an important element of an organisation’s overall approach to governance. It provides the impetus for delivering and governing the resilience programme in the organisation and its supply chain. It helps to establish the oversight capabilities required by senior executives to carry out their responsibilities for ensuring that effective management systems, including monitoring and control mechanisms have been out in place to protect assets, earnings capacity and reputation of the organisation.

4.       Good Business Management
The management function is about understanding the business philosophy, strategic objectives, corporate structure and critical operations of an organisation. It challenges corporate assumptions about threats and uncertainties, and facilitates greater certainty in the planning and achievement of long term goals.

5.       Multi disciplinary functions
It involves the skills and knowledge of a diverse group of people in the design, implementation and management of the programme. Management concepts in the field of strategy development, risk and insurance, human resources, quality planning and control, and finance, are all now essential parts of managing the BCM programme. The collective management progress preserves the long term well being of an organisation and its stakeholders, thereby facilitating business excellence. Core competence skills, notably, organisational management, analyse, communication, leadership, coordination, and innovation are the six fundamental managerial competencies of business continuity professionals.

6.       Anticipation
BCM is an active process which helps organisations anticipate threats and perceive the potentially significance implementations they could have for the organisations. This proactive sensing mechanism helps to remove the potential risk systems failures and safeguard mission critical operations.

7.       Communication
BCM promotes transparent communication within the organisation and amongst its stakeholders. A communication structure based on BCM underpins the corporate governance and improves the information flow to parties who require it for decision making, planning and implementation. During a crisis, it demonstrates the organisation’s transparency in dealing with the situation and reassures stakeholders. Such an approach reinforces stakeholder relationships and enhances shareholder value.

8.       Value preservation
Through BCM organisations are better able to withstand the impact of crises or recover more quickly thereby reducing the impact of loss and as a result preserving their overall value.

9.       Evolution
BCM is constantly changing and breaking new boundaries. One of the most common pit falls is that many regard it as simply a ‘crisis and invocation’ process stemming from IT DR origins. However, BCM has evolved significantly since then and is continually changing to meet new business challenges. It now offers a means of competitive advantage and gaining market share.

As business evolve BCM Mangers must take up the challenge of aligning BCMN with organisational performance, and promoting to senior executives the benefit it can provide in the context of strategic planning and the delivery of corporate goals.

Artco solutions believe that by training, exercising and rehearsing any organisation can make its plans, people and processes more resilient to a crisis. ‘We call this managing with certainty’. Our proficiencies reflect our strategic vision and ability to provide for the needs of new and existing clients to continue operations in the event of a disruption.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Is the London 2012 Olympics going to affect your business?

Let us engage in a conversation ...
London will be hosting the world’s largest sporting events in 2012. The games are already benefiting businesses. With billions of pounds of contracts to supply for the London 2012 games. The games promise to deliver a London changing experience. However, there will also be some challenges for business and individuals.
With 10.8 million tickets sold around 2 million Olympic visitors are expected to share the same resources as you and I struggle with daily. This will means millions of extra people will be using the transport system during the summer, a time that is already busy in the capital. Each individual or business will be affected by the games in different ways and to different extent and you will know best what is likely to work most effectively for you and your business.
The Game is likely to have an impact on the following areas of your business:
·         Travel to and from work for you and your employees
·         Travel for your customers or other visitors or family
·         Deliveries/ collections and other supplies
·         Business travel / personal travel
·         Internet security/ cyber attacks

Having established that you or your business will be affect, how are you preparing to manage these impacts?
·         Have you thought about  home working
·         Alternative routes to work
·         Have you thought about your supply chain management
·         How will your business deal with high absenteeism
·         How about flexi working times for employees
·         Using alternatives to meeting methods like teleconferencing, web conferencing
·         Have you thought about stock piling of non perishable goods
·         Have you asked your suppliers their plans for business during the games
Please share your thought below on how you/ your business is planning to reduce the challenges the LONDON 2012 games bring.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buisness Continuity: Withstanding Power Outages

According to the 2011 Business Continuity Management survey, loss of electricity was highlighted the sixth most damaging threat to an organisation. A report from SunGard availability services ‘causes of invocations 2010’ highlights that 27 percent of invocations was caused by power outage in 2010. A wide power loss is a threat that the government takes very seriously after the 28 August 2003 wide spread power cut covering an area of central London. Although the power was restored in 30 minutes, the resulting chaos lasted well into the night. Energy experts still believe that there is still a risk of major power outages because national grids are struggling to cope with the increasing demand for electricity.

With organisations operating ‘Just in time systems’ there is no time for a black out. As we  know one weak link in the supply chain can have a far reaching impact on the business operation. To ensure that power outage does not escalate into a disaster that result in business disruptions, loss or revenue or even damage to your reputation you need to be prepared. Organisations should be able to cope with this level of disruption quite easily.

Why plan?

Organisations without a power cut disruption or major incident plan can suffer fatal damage. Research shows that about 80 per cent of them close within 18 months, according to the London Prepared, a government organisation that provides information about business continuity.
Going forward the article we will recommend strategies on how your organisation can develop a response to power outage. But first of all you have to determine what you have by identifying and understanding the electrical distribution system layout and design in the facility to be protected. Most organisations have a very complex electrical power distribution system and to properly understand them, wiring documentation will need to be reviewed and brought up to dated.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to determine what your organisation’s mission critical requirements are for power. Critical electrical power requirements are usually driven as part of a business impact analysis and risk assessment. After all critical systems have been identified their source of power within the facilities need to be identified on electrical drawings to make sure it is understood that they are critical to the operation. If the electrical distribution system has been properly designed, all business equipment should be connected to common circuits and separated from non- critical equipment. We recommend this because it makes it much easier to isolate mission critical circuits and to connect them to emergency power source during an emergency. Don’t forget to keep documentations up to date for the equipment contained on these circuits. This will help identify the electrical load so as alternative back up power source can be deployed.

It is always good to have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in case of power failure. They can sustain power for up to an hour if they are properly sized and maintained. If it is absolutely critical to maintain power for an entire operation thought a power cut, regardless the duration of the incident, you might consider installing permanent emergency generators.  In addition, these types of installations are quite expensive and complex to install, operate and maintain and depending on your county it may not be viable due to building codes or environmental constraints.
As it is difficult to predict a power outage, a contractual agreement with an availability service such as SunGard that delivers secure workplace recovery centres and remote access solutions will be effective in minimising business impact as returning you to business as usual quickly.

Think Artco Solutions

Artco Solutions has a team of specialist partners that design crisis management and incident management plans, training events, projects, and conduct crisis rehearsals day-in, day-out. It is our core business to manage your uncertainty.
The Artco solution is a carefully designed mix of consultancy, professional services, products and solutions, that can help put your organisation on the front with business continuity planning, delivery and management.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An introduction to Business Continuity Management (BCM)

Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organisation can continue to function through an operational interruption'.
In other words it is about making proactive and reactive plans to help your organisation avoid crises and disasters and to be able to quickly return to 'business as usual' should they occur.

Why is BCM important?..

In an increasingly uncertain world, business continuity management is more relevant than ever. BCM identifies potential threats to an organisation and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realised, might cause. Natural disasters, network intrusions, human error, security and terrorist concerns - the list of threats to organisations keep getting longer.  In today’s integrated digital networked economy, even a few hours of service disruption can have a devastating impact.

Who is It applicable to?..

All organisations might be subject to disruption; this may include technology failure, flooding, utility disruption, pandemic influenza, fire or terrorist attack. The standard is available to any organisation regardless of the size, scope or complexity, that wishes to manage their overall business risks and develop the capability to plan for, and respond to, incidents and business disruption.
The consequence of unexpected business disruptions may be far- reaching and might involve loss of life, loss of asset or income, or the inability to deliver products and services on which the organisation’s survival might depend. By proactive identification of the impact of disruption, BCM identifies those products and services that are crucial for the organisation’s existence, and help to establish what responses will be needed if a disruption occurs.

What are the benefits?..

·         Improving an organisation’s resilience against vulnerability
·         Maintaining an ability to manage uninsurable risks
·         Developing a capability to manage business disruption
·         Minimising consequences of unexpected disruption
·         Providing a method of restoring an organisation’s ability to supply its key products and services
·         Protecting and enhancing the organisation’s reputation and brand
·         Gaining a competitive advantage by demonstrating the ability to maintain delivery of its products and services

Why use Artco Solutions?..

 The first few hours of a crisis are critical. The failure to take control in the early stages of a crisis can lead to, at best, a loss of confidence. You could be facing a real financial loss or severe criticisms from stakeholders that may last many months.

Artco solutions believe that by training, exercising and rehearsing any organisation can make its plans, people and processes more resilient to a crisis. We call this managing with certainty. Our solutions enable companies to continue operations in the event of a disruption. Artco solutions help protect your staff, your reputation and your organisation’s business.