Monday, 24 December 2012

Planning for major events

Donna Monkhouse, Your BC Eye
2012 will always be synonymous with the UK staging one of the most successful ever Olympic and Paralympic Games.   Its success has become part of Britain’s legacy.  But despite the strong positivity that surrounds the smooth operation of the Games, on the planning front, there were many that complained about a state of over-preparedness, declaring that too much time and effort had been squandered on unnecessary planning. 
Wide-spread traffic chaos, business disruptions, terrorist attacks and a grid-locked London were all predicted, but never actually occured.   So perhaps the question we need to be asking is not whether we did too much planning, but whether the quantity and quality of the planning undertaken helped to minimise any disruptions and whether without it, we would have experienced more chaos, more incidents and a less successful hosting of this major event
The Olympics is a great example of successful business continuity management (BCM) – good planning, good organization and good exercising.  Those organizations and individuals who knew that they would be affected by the Games (we all knew well in advance when it was going to be happening!), adopted good working practices that ensured that any potential disruption was either avoided entirely or kept to an absolute minimum.
So what BCM lessons can we take away from the Games? 
Well there are many and all organizations whether big or small, whether they are working in the private or public sector can benefit from the numerous examples of innovative ideas and approaches that were adopted in the planning of the Games.  They can also benefit from learning about the pitfalls of some bad planning decisions as well as strategies to avoid!
A big event like the Olympics is just one type of major event that could affect your business and remember, it doesn’t have to be one that you know about in advance, it could be one that you are not expecting!  Whether a ‘known’ or ‘unknown’ event, the Olympic Games provide us with a great learning platform to enable us to prepare better for any major event.
How can you find out more about them? 
Well the BCI is running a workshop on this subject on 30th January 2013 in London.  Organizations that were heavily impacted by the Games will be sharing their experiences, including good and bad practices, their insights and expertise on a wide range of topics, including:
·         Homeworking and flexible working for staff, the benefits and the issues
·         Transport and accommodation arrangements for essential staff
·         Lessons learned for future area-wide disruptions
·         Supply Chain issues and how they were addressed
·         Planning for potential disruptions to customer service levels
·         Communication Tools
·         Exercising – what worked; what didn’t
The workshop provides an excellent opportunity to share good practice; exchange ideas and build relationships with your peers from a wide range of organizations that have been there and ‘worn the T-shirt’ as such, enabling you to take away some valuable insights and knowledge that can be applied to your own business.   This is a great way to make the Olympic Games part of your own company legacy and learn some valuable BCM lessons that will help you to improve your own business continuity planning and future strategy development.  
If you can make it to London on that date, I would strongly urge you do.  The cost to book is £250+VAT for BCI Members and Affiliates and £336+VAT for non-members.  There is also an Early Bird Rate available if you book your place before 9th January 2013.

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