Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Virtues of Virtual Workshops

Donna Monkhouse Your BC Eye
Physical workshops offer attendees a fantastic interactive, organic learning environment as well as a superb platform for networking and some great peer to peer information exchange.   You can contribute as much or as little as you like; and if you prefer, you can just simply sit quietly in the background and absorb the flow of information.   The choice is yours.

A safe haven, the physical workshop seems like the perfect setting for effective learning and knowledge transfer.   It even has its quirks for its presenters, offering great scope for different types and blends of communication, ranging from verbal to visual to indeed kinesthetic interaction!  
If that is the ‘good’, what are ‘the bad and the ugly’?  Well, two simple words – time and money!   

With busy work schedules and multiple key diary commitments in place, taking a full day out of a busy working week to attend a workshop off site is not always possible, even if attendance would add real value.  And we haven’t even mentioned the cost of getting there and any possible overnight stays!

But what if the workshop came to you?  What if you could have all the same benefits without the hassles?  What if you didn’t even have to leave your desk to participate?
Well there is a way – and that way is the virtual workshop.  The virtual workshop offers similar benefits to that of a physical workshop plus a few more – you get to network with your peers and profit from the sharing of best practice; you can ‘chat’ to other delegates, ask questions through the Chair and participate in discussions and debates, you just don’t have to travel to get there and if you wanted, you could even attend wearing your pyjamas and slippers – no-one need ever know!

All this adds up to some tremendous cost savings – no travelling costs; no overnight costs.  And then there is the added bonus in that it saves time and can be attended with minimum disruption to your day, enabling you to make the best use of your time and meet critical work and diary commitments and still have some time for important professional development.  And the savings made by the organiser in terms of reduced administration and event management costs are passed directly onto the attendees in the form of reduced delegate fees.  Definitely a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone concerned.
It is easy to set up from a technological point of view, requiring only the minimum use (and understanding) of technology to get started  – internet connection, a laptop or PC and a set of headphones will suffice to link you up to your new virtual learning environment.   

The virtual workshop is a global workshop.  People can potentially attend from anywhere around the world, adding to those already great networking opportunities as you connect with people from across the international scene, rather than being restricted to people who are “within travelling distance”.
But the best bit about a virtual workshop has to be the time and money it saves you.  No need to spend a day out of the office travelling to and fro to attend; the virtual workshop offers you the chance to participate at the click of a button (or two) directly from your desk or wherever you happen to be at the time.   The power of the internet is working at full capacity here; technology is the name of the game.

So with all these virtues, it is no wonder that the BCI is making use of the available technology to bring some of its workshops directly to you with the introduction of BCI Virtual Workshops, which they have just launched.
Four great titles are already planned for 2012, starting with Communicating in a Crisis. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Good news for ISO 22301

Lyndon Bird FBCI
The BCI welcomes the news that ISO22301 has finally been approved and will soon be published.

This represents a significant step forward for the discipline of Business Continuity Management but it also raises a number of questions.  Amongst these are the positioning of BS25999 parts 1 and 2, as well as how other national standards bodies in the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore will react to the new ISO.

Many BCI members around the world have made significant contributions to this new standard and the BCI would like to thank them for their hard work in representing both their national standards bodies and (at least indirectly) the BCI in the process.

 The BCI are launching an important consultation survey with our global membership to solicit your opinion on the new standard.   Watch this space for more news from the BCI Research and Advocacy department.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

BCI comes out at DRJ Spring World Conference 2012

John Di Maria Winner
Business Continuity Manager Consultant of the Year
 sponsored by IT Professional Group
Last week saw the first outing of the BCI as Education Partners of the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) at their Spring World Conference held in Florida.

As a first time visitor to both Florida and a DRJ event, I was very impressed with both.  The location was excellent, convenient for the airport, beautifully laid out with good accommodation and wonderfully warm.  Inside the conference venue, however, things were even better.  DRJ offered a superb range of plenary and breakout streams catering for all levels of expertise and learning requirements. It was obvious from the buzz in the dining area and corridors that many attendees also used the event to catch up with old friends and make new connections.

The BCI Team at the BCI North America Awards
The BCI Team, including Central Office, the US Office and both US and Canadian Chapters, was out in force to show our support for DRJ and to talk to the many visitors to our booth about why the BCI is unique and what we can offer members.   Activities and outputs from the very recent Business Continuity Awareness Week featured highly in our discussions as we showcased why the BCI is the thought leader in the BCM arena.  We also registered a great deal of interest in the Institute and will shortly be welcoming many more new members.

DRJ also offered the chance to get to know colleagues and partners in a more relaxed social environment.  The BCI US Chapter was pleased to greet in excess of 300 guests to a welcome reception which kicked off the event.  Send Word Now (Platinum Sponsor of the BCI’s BCM World Conference) hosted a superb 30’s style, classy evening down on the beach.  The final night, however, saw the inaugural BCI North American Awards ceremony presented by our own Master of Ceremonies, Frank Leonetti MBCI – well done to all winners.

The night was wrapped up with a high octane party from xMatters who kindly sponsored the BCI Awards – those guys really know how to party.

Lorraine Darke
Executive Director BCI

Monday, 2 April 2012

How much third party due diligence is enough?

Lee Glendon CBCI
Reputational risk is a hot topic as many of you will be aware.   Last week, I was invited to  a debate at the UK’s House of Lords, following comment in the Financial Times on the need to understand and prepare for the reputational consequences of moving production to countries with potentially very different business practices to the UK.

The debate was intended to focus on anti-corruption due diligence following the introduction of the UK Bribery Act, which requires adequate procedures of due diligence; however, it soon became a broader debate on the limitations of a compliance approach.  How much due diligence and compliance would be enough if you have 60,000 suppliers?  How do you justify to the board that the investment will be effective?  Some participants were looking at potentially spending millions of dollars on the due diligence

This debate would resonate with many BCM practitioners, who have been looking at supply chain resilience issues, even more so when the topic of standards and kite marks was discussed.  It has to be said that while kite marks were seen as a good in theory and reference frameworks had been developed for third party due diligence in this area, it was widely felt by those present that they would be an insufficient means of assurance, when applied in isolation.

One participant, who is a serving board member, noted that his boardroom had discussed the issue of anti-corruption and noted that Non-Executive Directors were particularly attuned to the issue as they would be held responsible. However, executive directors were less animated by the issue - one had commented that the legislation would make it impossible to do business in some of the major growth markets around the world.   

The debate moved on to an area familiar to all of us:  compliance alone is not enough to address the issue, it’s about the culture of the company and executive commitment.    The board needs to be engaged and understand that they are responsible when this goes wrong. 
The thought running through my mind was simply: here’s another part of the organisation that is looking at supply chain resilience, wanting to engage with procurement and bidding for resources from the board to perform due diligence. 

Surely, there is some opportunity for BCM practitioners to leverage this activity, share expertise and position BCM as a framework for understanding this problem?