Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why the BCI Middle East Awards are important to raising the profile of BC in the Middle East

Nisar Ahmed Khan MBCI
Although Business Continuity Management (BCM) has not been on the boardroom agenda of many organizations in the Middle East, it has, however, still enjoyed a significant presence in the region. It is fact that Business Continuity is emerging as a very important area both for the government and private sector, which is confirmed by the recent initiative of the UAE Government with the release of the UAE BCM Standard AE/HSC/NCEMA 7000:2011 that is set to drive national resilience by getting more and more organizations to adopt good BCM practice.
 Witnessing the past trend, it is not that far away when we will see other Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) coming up with their own localized BC standards or regulations.
We may wonder why organizations in the Middle East have suddenly shifted their attention to business continuity planning in the last few years.   To me it is obvious:  the world has witnessed natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and floods that have had catastrophic effects on lots of countries.  The number of cyber-attacks has doubled in the last five years.  Additionally, countries in the Middle East are experiencing political instabilities that affect businesses. Therefore, it is high time to look at business continuity planning to mitigate the operational and financial impacts of disruptive incidents.
We now need to capitalize on value creating activities that will raise the bar of awareness and understanding of what BC is all about, like the BCM Middle East Summit and the BCI Middle East Awards.
With the intention of increasing local BC knowledge, the BCI endorsed the inaugural BCM M.E Summit, which took place last October. This event focused on key trends, best practices, technologies and services needed to develop and implement a framework for ensuring an organization's recovery from various types of business and IT disasters and interruptions.  The Summit gave the attendees information needed to make immediate improvements to operational resiliency as well as guidance on the strategic and tactical components needed to build recovery, continuity, and continuous availability within the enterprise.
In parallel to the BCM summit, a very special event also took place in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the winners of the first-ever BCI Middle East Awards.  These Awards recognized the outstanding contribution of business continuity professionals and organizations living or operating in the Middle East.  From a personal point of view, I consider these kinds of events to be a vital source in raising the profile of the business continuity profession and discipline in this region.
I was thrilled to be shortlisted for the Business Continuity Manager of the Year Award category.  A dream came true when I saw my name besides the BCM heavyweights.   Being recognized for all the hard work in your career makes you feel that it was all worthwhile and leaves you feeling totally contented.
The awards ceremony started with bright lights, cameras flashing, music playing and my heart beating loudly with anticipation.  Who is going to win? Will it be me - just some of the thoughts going through my mind as the winners were being announced.  And then they called me to the stage and I can’t begin to describe how I felt in that moment.  I was absolutely delighted to win the award against some very tough competition; it was one of the proudest moments of my life and my career.
I would like to express my congratulations to all the winners of the first BCI Middle East Awards and take this opportunity to encourage my colleagues and peers to be part of the next BCI Middle East Awards that are taking place in Dubai on 29th May 2013.
Deadline for entries is 28th March 2013 - make sure you don't miss your chance to shine in the Middle East!  All winners of the BCI Middle East Awards will automatically be entered into the BCI Global Awards 2013 that are being celebrated as an integral part of the BCM World Conference and Exhibition 2013 in London on 6th November.

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