Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Crossing boundaries

John Robinson

Our BCM World Conference presentation is an illustration of how BCM can pleasantly surprise business leaders with the value it brings. Our case study will be about Reed and MacKay, a £200M turnover top-end executive travel firm located in Farringdon close to the heart of London’s legal, media and financial district. This is a multi-faceted, time-pressured and highly successful business and illustrates perfectly the importance of accurate and decisive BIA. The following explains why I believe they found it so valuable, noting that Reed and Mackay subsequently gained accreditation to ISO 22301 at the first attempt.

On the heels of recession, R&M’s 2012 budget for BCM was tight, so this was by necessity Business Impact Analysis (BIA) in a hurry, allowing just six days to complete. Head of GRC Suzanne Elmore and I booked the ‘goldfish bowl’ office for an initial two days’ intensive research, compiling all the information we needed, hauling in knowledgeable others wherever and whenever we couldn’t find the answers ourselves. It was intense, coffee fuelled work, but for the business we were conspicuous by our absence - no long haul activity, no hit-and-miss scheduling of meetings and consequently no interruption. From their standpoint, the BIA was building itself painlessly; from ours it was systematically providing a detailed and accurate view of the business, marketplace and supply chain.

By the end of day two we had a large and colourful layered map and a steady stream of visitors poking their heads round the door just to see what the pictures actually meant. One was the CEO. His initial reaction was ‘what on earth is that?!’ After a brief explanation, he got it… and asked us to deliver a presentation of the map to the extended management team – for a full day. He realised our technique would let him pinpoint the organisation context and that this would allow executives to think outside their areas for both BCM and normal business.

We delivered to a room of around 15 C-level execs and managers, testing and refining the picture using scenarios. Engagement was total and by 4pm everyone understood the effect of disruption, risks and priorities, dependencies, strengths and weaknesses. Our approach reduced the effects of personality and gave individual execs ownership of the outcome. We authored the formal BIA document based on the high grade information we took from the workshop, requiring the bare minimum review before release and allowing us to complete on time.

Finally, on completing the workshop, we were approached and thanked by the Commercial Director who saw the exercise as exemplary PR for the firm and who now uses their accreditation to emphasise R&M’s superior service to clients.

The message to you from me is this: we know that BIA is the foundation for effective BCM, setting out the organisation’s context for managing this important aspect of business risk. It can seem daunting the first time, trying to see a way through that is efficient and cost effective, and which is accurate and capable of being totally embraced by senior management. We achieved exactly that and gained accreditation on the back of it, with total management support. Please attend our presentation if you’d like to know more about how we did it. We’ll be pleased to see you and answer your questions.

John, along with R&M's Suzanne Elmore, will be discussing the issue of crossing boundaries during his Practitioner Presentation at the BCM World Conference. This will be part of the free seminar programme within the exhibition.

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