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The death of the business continuity planning and profession has been predicted quite a few times over the last decade. Some reports have even gone as far as to declare that it is already dead.
When asked about the status of their business continuity planning efforts, many organizations respond that either it provides limited value or it is cumbersome to implement and maintain.
The current business landscape arguably allows for more opportunity than ever before, and many organizations are pre-occupied with quarter over quarter growth. Many of them are ignoring the critical efforts which will help them to ensure the long-term viability of their business and protect the most vital assets – their people.
But how many successful organizations hold the same type of view? Do companies like Google and Apple get to stay on top by ignoring the possibility that disaster can strike at any time and the very fact that things will go wrong in the future?
The truth is somewhere in the middle
The truth is that business continuity planning will likely never die. The planning approach may change and become considerably different in the future, but it will never really disappear.
Business continuity planning will always be required and will prepare the organizations for the possibility of something going wrong. As long as leaders care about protecting their organizations from losses or closures, business continuity planning will continue to be around in one way or another.
However, this does not mean that the field of business continuity planning is perfect. Those that predict it’s the disappearance have some reasons for their beliefs, and these are often very valid criticisms. Here are some of them:
1. Lack of Innovation
Critics often feel that the field of business continuity planning has somewhat stagnated, and they are right to a certain extent. Many consultants are stuck in the past, and they refuse to acknowledge that modern problems require modern solutions and a more agile approach in resolving them.
Some would rather sell cookie-cutter templates or outdated software platforms, than work with organizations to create business continuity plans that work for them. Unfortunately, this problem is not exclusive only to the business continuity planning profession.
Many industries suffer from the very same issue, and the only solutions seem to be finding professionals that are adaptable to change. They genuinely care about what their clients’ specific needs are.
On the other hand, not everything that hasn’t changed in some time is useless. Many business continuity planning activities revolve around procedures that do not need to change much, as the time tested approach can be applied to any organization, regardless of their industry or size.
2. Management Disconnect
Another struggle business continuity planners face a level of senior leadership and management engagement. The root of the problem is not necessarily a lack of tools or a consultant’s engagement approach, but rather the fact that senior management has much more to worry about than business continuity planning efforts.
The business continuity professional understands the planning, and the senior management understands their business, but neither one can accomplish their goals without working collaboratively. Engagement from senior leadership is imperative to business continuity planning efforts.
This issue is not an easy one to solve, but it is not a lost cause. Business continuity professionals need to develop a better understanding of what drives senior management and learn how to engage them effectively.
This issue is not unique to business continuity planning alone. Other professionals, such as accountants or IT specialists, will often face the same struggles when engaging senior management and driving the results.
What the future holds?
In our opinion, the business continuity planning is not dead, but it has its issues and challenges. The solution is not to eliminate it, but rather to assess and improve what can be improved and potentially retire ineffective and outdated approaches.
As long as the world we live in is unpredictable, organizations will always need to protect themselves, and business continuity planning will ensure they are ready for unexpected.
StratoGrid Advisory is a Business Continuity Management (BCM) Advisory firm in the Ottawa/Gatineau region that can provide you with the experience and knowledge needed to successfully implement a BCM Program in your organization.