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Your top three challenges: final results

During January and February 2011 Continuity Central ran an online survey that asked business continuity professionals what the main challenges facing them in 2011 are.

The survey invited open responses to the question ‘What would you list as your top three challenges and why?’: these were then categorised into groups by Continuity Central.

A total of 213 responses were received, with some clear trends emerging:

Lack of resources is the biggest challenge facing business continuity professionals in 2011
From the list of ‘number one’ challenges reported, ‘Lack of resources’ was the most common issue; with 24 percent of respondents reporting that this would be their main area of difficulty in 2011.

Of the 213 respondents, 12 percent said that lack of budget was their main difficulty, followed by lack of human resources at 6 percent. Lack of time (3 percent) and general lack of resources (3 percent) were also reported.

A further 17 percent said that lack of resources was their second biggest challenge.

Overall, 15 percent of respondents said that lack of budget was their first or second biggest challenge for 2011 and 9 percent said that lack of human resources was their first or second biggest challenge.

Difficulties in obtaining senior management support and input
The second major issue reported by business continuity professionals was difficulties in obtaining senior management support and input. 21 percent of respondents said that this was their main difficulty and 19 percent said it was their second biggest challenge for 2011.

Getting wider buy-in from the organization
Following on from difficulties in gaining senior management support and input, a further 12 percent of business continuity professionals reported that their main issue was getting the wider organization to buy-in to business continuity and to provide support to the process.

When taken together, a worrying 59 percent of respondents said that getting support from senior management and/or the wider organization was one of their top two challenges for 2011.

Business continuity plan related difficulties
Interestingly, only 16 percent of respondents reported that their top challenge for 2011 was related to the management or development of their actual business continuity plan(s). Additionally, only 4.5 percent said that their top challenge was technology related.

The list below gives an overview of all the identified categories and the number of respondents who stated that this was their top challenge for 2011:

• Lack of resources: 24 percent (Budget 12%, Human 6%, Time 3%, General 3%)
• Difficulties in gaining senior management support and input: 21 percent
• Business continuity plan / process related: 16 percent
• Getting buy-in and support from the wider organization: 12 percent
• Organizational cut backs and changes: 5.5 percent
• Technology issues: 4.5 percent
• Testing and exercising: 4 percent
• Compliance, regulation and auditing: 3 percent
• Culture change: 3 percent.
• Other: 7 percent

65 percent of respondents said that their top challenges in 2011 were the same as 2010.

The raw results of the survey can be viewed here as an Excel spreadsheet. Continuity Central is happy to provide these as an unrestricted open source resource.

Make a comment / provide analysis

Reader comments


Looking at the examples set by our countries political leaders doesn't inspire confidence. They fail to recognise potential risks, dance around the relevant questions and are then reactive rather than proactive.

Business leaders often competently demonstrate their own particular skills and risk management in their own area of the business process, but that process is a combination of complex skills and risks and they fail to understand the other business skills required and risks to be managed. If they do not understand the risks, then how can we expect them to make the right decisions regarding them?

Is the real problem that top management have not been trained to address the risk environment properly, or is it that our risk management people need to be more effective in reporting the risks and in convincing the top management on the importance management of these risks?

Experience shows that every crisis / disaster could have been better handled by proper planning at the outset and more effective risk management driven from the top. Unfortunately the bottom up approach will never prevail where top management continue to bury their heads in the sand and whistle.

Your survey is very interesting as it clearly discloses where the real problem lies. Perhaps you need to conduct a survey on "what level of management pays any attention to useful documents such as this one and how frail is their knowledge of risk management.”


Peter van Veyeren, Head of Business Continuity Management:

Thanks for the survey details. Having read through them I would wish to make some observations / comments. When you add the top 3 rated problems percentages together we arrive at just 50 percent; while I believe the top three are relevant in my mind this shows a deeper problem. I believe what sums this up better is the observation that a total of 59 percent cite getting support as a problem. While I am not sure how the percentage (59 percent) was arrived at; I believe this is the underlying issue that is being expressed in other ways. We read all the time that without the Top Management buy in, BCM will not work; I believe your study has highlighted this clearly.

I would have expected a low response from the area of persons having difficulty in formulating plans; essentially without the proper commitment from the top maybe a number of our BCM colleagues are merely scratching the surface of their respective organizations.

Thanks for the good flow of information; it is really useful.

I sincerely hope our friends in Japan pull through their turmoil.


Aldo Pelosi, ICM professional services manager:

These results are of no great surprise to us as we are increasingly finding from current and prospective customers that the lack of resources available, as well as a lack of company involvement and buy-in, are challenges that they are facing on a day-to-day basis. It is vital that the BC plan needs to be on the radar of the management board as it is no longer just down to one individual to manage this process and obtain the resources required to achieve BC targets effectively. Without getting management attention and buy-in, it is a long and difficult road to achieving BC preparedness. There is no need for businesses today to plough on regardless of the risks that face them. There are services in the market that can ensure that devising a BC plan is pain free and help show that the business will have tangible results and a real return on investment. Having a business continuity plan is much more than just ticking a box, and as we move forward into 2011, is one that requires more attention from the business to ensure effective operations can be effectively restored and maintained.

•Date: 11th March 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article •Topic: BC statistics

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