Business Continuity (BC) has always been a challenge for enterprises in the Philippines. The difficulty stems from lack of budget, not having the right people and skills, or even just having difficulty defining what Business Continuity is all about.
In my experience as a Business Continuity Professional for over 15 years, here are the 5 Key Lessons Learned by companies who got it right. These companies:
1. Have a proper business case for the program supported by the highest executive in the company
It all starts with the support of the highest Executive possible, ideally the CEO. Just like any other project or program this requires a sound business case to highlight the effects or the risks of not having the program. A BC program is often developed simply to comply with requirements or standards of the regulators but for some companies, like BPOs and Contact Centers, this has been proven to even provide competitive advantage.
2. Consider and understand the local threats and risks for their company
Never copy a program from another country or another business. The threats and risks in your company are unique based on your industry, location, employee demographics and other variables. There is no one-size-fits-all BC Program. Understanding the risks would drive the proper business impact analysis from a loss of operations.
The Philippines has always been on the top 5 lists of disaster-prone countries in the world. We never ran out of new disasters, so other countries watched and learned from us on how to have an effective BC program.
3. Implement the BC strategy according to what was defined in the business case
They ensure that the projects that drive the program stay on budget. They always go back to the RTO and RPO which were derived by the business and ensure that it is being met.
The business gives the funding for the program to help mitigate the risks and prevent actual disaster from happening. A great BC program not only helps the company recover from a disaster but ensures that disasters are avoided. A crisis in itself is not yet a disaster; it will only be a disaster if it is not effectively or properly managed.
4. Have the right team and skills to support the program
The right set of people with the proper training and mindset does the trick. Managing a BC program takes a lot of time and knowledge of the business, while the right approach or methodology makes it more efficient. The organization should have the ability to work with various stakeholders in and outside of the company, including industry associations, regulators and government agencies.
5. Never fail to test and ensure that the desired RTO and RPO are met
This should happen at least once a year or when there is a major change in the organization. Always be transparent with the test results, with the goal of understanding and learning from them. Go back to the business to report the test results. Celebrate test completion with the business and other stakeholders because it takes quite the effort.
There are more lessons learned, but these are the top 5 from my list. Following these will give you very high chances of having a successful Business Continuity Program.
Please visit the Business Continuity Manager Association of the Philippines (BCMAP) website at www.bcmap.org or like our Facebook page “Business Continuity Managers Association of the Philippines – BCMAP”, for our scheduled forums, classes and workshops.
About the Author
Mel Cabodil is the President of the Business Continuity Managers Association of the Philippines (BCMAP) as well as Executive Director of DRI Philippines.