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What if I told you that business continuity management could be dying?

The business world has changed, but has business continuity kept up? Paul Kudray challenges the business continuity profession to take a long, hard, look in the mirror.

To most readers the headline of this article will cause a sharp intake of breath and a great deal of angst. Just who the heck is he to say such a thing?

But my intuition tells me that, often, we (the resilience profession), are still insular in our attitude to the business world around the globe.

This may seem an alarmingly bold statement to make, but it’s my opinion; I’m entitled to one. I care about resilience.

The headline may make you react angrily because you don’t believe it is true. Why would I even suggest it? It’s not because I wanted to grab attention. It’s because I care passionately about business continuity management and resilience. I want to make sure it stays fit and healthy; not just for the profession’s sake but for the millions of businesses out there.

But we also know that business continuity management isn’t to everyone’s liking; some (many?) businesses don’t even know what it is.

Next time you are in your local shop, ask the person behind the counter whether they have heard of business continuity management? That’s probably a more accurate reflection of BCM awareness today than the stats we see in our industry journals and websites. Because it’s real-life resilience. It’s at the shop floor, ground level operational position.

Perhaps we should stop over-researching and debating between ourselves the difference between business continuity management and organizational resilience; stop looking at complex theories and scientific approaches to what either concept means: because these things matter little to the businesses themselves who just want a plan of what to do.

If we stop burying ourselves in the minutiae of our profession, we may just notice that the business world of today has changed since BCM was first introduced. People have changed; the business world has changed. The entrepreneurs of today think differently and their first business ambition is to make money; end of. Yes, some forward-thinking businesses, corporate organizations, have great business continuity management and organizational resilience in place; but many have nothing.

Business continuity management is a multi-million-dollar industry around the world and I’m a believer in its concept and value to any organization; whatever the size may be. Like any industry, BCM must adapt to keep ahead of and remain relevant to the market. BCM needs to find new markets; and I don’t just mean new countries.

However, we live today in a world where, after all of the years of BCM and resilience, even the high-street business bank does not ask a new entrepreneur a simple due diligence question about their resilience capabilities; and the everyday business insurance provider does not see resilience as a business quality whereby it could consider rewarding the forward thinking, prepared, business.

So why is that still the case as we head into 2017?

My intuition tells me that business continuity management and organizational resilience does not reach the business people of today as effectively as it should, simply because it is badged not necessarily for the business on the street; it is badged more for a corporate world. Not all businesses and start-ups are corporate.

Businesses around the world do not all have business continuity management, even though we know it has enormous capabilities. We have convinced ourselves of its value but many practitioners still struggle to convince their bosses and organizations.

Our aim should not just be to achieve new clients and maintain existing customers who buy our BCM services, because that it is what we want them to do. Buy it. Our aim should be to reverse engineer the process and make business resilience something that the entrepreneur sees as a true business quality and a marketable capability in their great ambitious plans.

Business resilience can be simplified where appropriate and made more achievable, affordable and available (our 3 simple A’s of modern resilience).

Business continuity management needs to appeal to a far wider audience than it currently does. BCM can be an essential capability for any business, at any level; and we have great people in the profession. We know what BCM can do but does the entrepreneur out there know?

Here’s a very quick challenge if we are truly passionate about keeping business continuity management alive:

Think like a business entrepreneur would today; make a list of the top 10 things we would need and want to be successful. Where would BCM be placed? Do not think like a resilience professional: think like the entrepreneur. BCM may make our list but will it even touch their radar?

Business resilience for the less corporate organizations and the entrepreneurs of the future, could, and needs to be, simpler; to make it more attractive in terms of its quality, value and necessity. BCM and resilience are marketable assets. Businesses need to know that.

The author

Paul KudrayAn international leader in business resilience consultancy, training and coaching; Paul Kudray, MSc FICPEM CBCI AMBCI Fellow of the EPC, is an ex-emergency services commander who finished an exemplary 32 year career in the UK healthcare sector, working for the NHS - culminating in 7½ years as the Director of Resilience for one of the world’s largest ambulance services, NWAS NHS Trust. He now works with private and public sector clients around the world, training, advising, coaching and mentoring them at the highest levels about emergency and business continuity management.

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