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Is business continuity management a misnomer?

By Luc P. Klein

For more than ten years business continuity management (BCM) has been on the priority list of senior managers because of events such as Y2K, the implementation of the Euro, terrorist attacks, natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, and pandemic outbreaks such as SARS, H1N1 and Mexican Flu. Additionally, in some sensitive industries such as the financial sector, regulators increasingly require banks to have effective BCM measures in place.

This paper discusses why business continuity management, as a discipline and as perceived by many today, is at the crossroads of direction and focus. In fact, BCM does not currently fully cover the actual meaning of the term business continuity, to the extent that one could ask: 'Is business continuity management a misnomer'?

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Reader comments

I agree, BCM is at a crossroads. Is it a discipline focussing on operations continuity, or should it expand to encompass every threat to a business (the strategic and financial risks)?

BCM is a misnomer though, whichever way the discipline develops in the future. “Business” is too narrow a term, and does not encompass all those organizations that are not businesses (charities, government, etc.). My personal view is that it should be called Organization Continuity Management (OCM).

Mel Gosling

Luc has put together an excellent article here which hits on some of the key areas under discussion now in this knotty area.  The question is what the organisation wants in essence and businesses are beginning to wake up to the fact they need a more comprehensive approach to their own resilience.  BCM is only a misnomer under certain circumstances but it is missing the opportunity to encompass the wider remit that is going to be sought in the future.  The Chief Resilience Officer concept has achieved some popularity with a few organisations as a way of bringing together the various disciplines.  BC is a niche service that delivers very well on what it sets out to do and to call it operational continuity management would not really change that, but could narrow the focus to what it really does do. 

Currently there are many models and BC has different scopes in each – what needs establishing is a method of addressing all the various areas that support resilience – Risk, BC, Security, HSE, Strategy, Finance, Infosec and many others or at least developing an overview for an organisation that allows them to link up where and when necessary and bring a better understanding to the fore.

Renaming BC may only serve to confuse at this stage.

Dominic Cockram, managing director, Steelhenge Consulting

•Date: 16th August 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article • Topic: Business Continuity, General

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