Wednesday, 18 July 2012

BCM World Conference and Exhibition – why this is the ‘must attend’ event for BCM practitioners

Deborah Higgins MBCI
Life as a BCM practitioner in any organisation can sometimes feel lonely and like an uphill struggle, a never-ending battle with no imminent victory in sight. 
We need to be a ‘jack of all trades’ starting from knowing how to make BCM relevant and of interest to all areas of the organisation, to being a master of persuasion to convince sceptical stakeholders, to having to have an eye for detail to carry out an effective BIA as well as being highly organised to maintain the BC Plan and be skilled facilitators to run our exercises!
The constant battle as we BC practitioners strive to embed BCM into our organisation’s culture is taxing to say the least and just when we feel like giving up as our energy levels ebb into the distance, along comes the BCM World Conference to revitalise the parts other events cannot reach and to fill us with inspiration and renewed enthusiasm for our one true ‘professional’ passion.
BCM World Conference is the place where  we can be with our allies, where we stand together with the ‘already convinced’ and the ‘converted’, where we are part of a global, united force and where we can find temporary release  from our ivory towers
For me the Conference is a place I go to immerse myself in the world of BCM. As a delegate I can find out what’s new, what other practitioners from a wide range of organisations are doing and how are they doing it. I can listen to professionals from all over the world talk about common problems we all face and become part of the conversation about what we can do about it. I can learn from the wealth of experience and knowledge from experienced leaders in their fields, share my own experience and best of all I can take this away with me back to my place of work.
I can find out what tools are out there to help me do my job by visiting the exhibition. I can see anything from software providers, salvage companies and consultants all who know exactly what I do and why I am there. I have listened to some fascinating stories in presentations given on the exhibition floor. I have been inspired to attend workshops and training courses and I can find out how to continue with my professional development.
I have been fortunate to be in a position to go to BCM World and take the opportunity to learn, to network and make new friends and I can’t imagine not attending the conference in the future.
This year I am lucky enough to work for the Business Continuity Institute and so I don’t need to make a business case to my employers to fund my attendance! But I do know that there is no better place for anyone with any interest in Business Continuity to be.
If, like me, you leave with a renewed feeling of enthusiasm for your work and full of useful knowledge and some new ideas to try back in the office, then it has been a worthwhile investment and one you will continue to reap the benefits of for a very long time.        
And if you are looking to save a bit of money, the BCI are offering an Early Bird Rate for both Members and Non-Members, which is available until 31st July 2012.  So hurry and take advantage of this by booking your place right now here   
To find out more about the Conference click here or download the Conference Programme here
Look forward to seeing you there.
Deborah Higgins, MBCI
Technical & Learning Manager at the BCI

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Revival of IT Disaster Recovery as a BCM Core Issue

Lyndon Bird FBCI
The one thing that almost all Business Continuity professionals agree upon is that BCM originated in IT Disaster Recovery (ITDR). Until very recently I would have argued that ITDR was no longer a core issue of BC practitioners in multi-national or global organizations. Although the risks of IT failure were extensive and the potential impact massive, the probability of those risks being manifest was very much under control. The sheer expenditure and sophistication of ICT in major organizations should have designed resilience into the infra-structure so that IT failures were largely invisible to customers and other external stakeholders.

My first reaction to hearing that the Royal Bank of Scotland had serious IT problems with a software upgrade was one of disbelief. Surely not I told my colleagues, there has to be more to it than this, perhaps a cyber-attack or perhaps internal sabotage. When no rumours of such dramatic events emerged and the banking group kept extending their expected recovery period I had to reluctantly admit I was wrong. As I write, the banking group are still not totally operational at their Ulster Bank subsidiary after 4 weeks of disruption, and even customers at the bank’s main brands (RBS and NatWest) experienced delays of a week or more.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) launches Global Awards 2012

BCI Global Awards 2011
The Business Continuity Institute has launched its 2012 Global Awards.  The Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of business continuity professionals working worldwide and celebrate the top talent in this rising industry. 

This year sees the launch of two new judged categories - BCM Newcomer of the Year and Business Continuity Team of the Year - as well as the addition of Business Continuity Personality of the Year, which is decided by public vote. 

An independent judging panel presides over the Awards entries.   Eight judges representing the education, private and public sectors in Australia, India, South Africa, USA and the UK, including the Houses of Parliament make up the panel and ensure a truly cross-sector and global evaluation.

The Awards will be presented at the BCI Gala Dinner and Awards that completes day one of the BCM World Conference and Exhibition 2012 that takes place 7th to 8th November 2012 at Olympia, London. 

This year the Gala Dinner is being hosted at one of London’s top tourist attractions, Madame Tussauds, home to stars past and present, providing a fitting setting for a BCM star-studded event.

The BCI Global Awards are open to everyone working in the business continuity industry.

The deadline for entries is Friday, 7th September 2012. 

Visit BCI Global Awards 2012 to find out more.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Business Continuity - getting buy-in at the top

Lyndon Bird FBCI
It is difficult to get buy-in at the very top in organizations because BCM is wrongly seen as an operational matter. In a booming economy it is easy to think that sufficient resources are available to deal with any adverse incident that might occur. However, in these more challenging times, there is less confidence in the ability of an organization’s capability to simply “buy itself out of trouble”.

Many strategic decisions are taken without full consideration of the consequence of interruption such as, the growth of outsourcing, off-shoring, long supply chains and low cost manufacturing. Whilst generally adding short-term value to the bottom-line, when any of these strategies fail to deliver, reputation and brand image are compromised. Short-term financial losses might be containable but long-term loss of market share is often much more damaging.

So getting buy in at the top requires a Business Continuity professional to have better understanding of the concerns of Top Management and an ability to communicate any risk concerns in a language they are familiar with. Real high-profile examples help grow awareness and promote management attention but only if the business consequences of a disruptive event are emphasised, not the technical failures that caused it. Many leaders were shaken by the corporate impact that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill incident had on the finances, share-price and reputation of BP, a truly global business. Business Continuity Managers can benefit themselves and their organizations by using their skills to identify their own organization’s potential high consequence events.