For the past five years Continuity Central has conducted an online survey asking business continuity professionals about their expectations for the year ahead. This article provides the results of the most recent survey and identifies some interesting changes from previous years…
134 survey responses were received, with the majority (78.4 percent) being from large organizations (companies with more than 250 employees). 12.7 percent were from small organizations (50 or less employees) and 8.9 percent were from medium sized organizations (51 to 250 employees).
The highest percentage of respondents was from the USA (38.5 percent), followed by the UK (23.1 percent). Significant numbers of responses were also received from Canada (6.1 percent) and Australasia (5.4 percent).
The survey asked respondents: ‘What level of changes do you expect to see in the way your organization manages business continuity during 2019?’
12 percent of respondents expect to see no change in the way their organization manages business continuity. 54.1 percent expect to see small changes, whilst a third (33.9 percent) are anticipating large changes.
The 88 percent of respondents expecting to see changes were asked to provide details of the one area that is likely to have the biggest impact on business continuity practices or strategies within their organization. Key themes that emerged were as follows:
‘Making major revisions to BCM strategies and/or BCP(s)’ topped the list of changes that business continuity managers expected to see in 2018 and, in 2019, this was again top of the list, with 22 percent of respondents saying that this was the biggest change they expected to see.
Testing and exercising continues to move up the agenda. In the 2017 version of this survey, 7 percent of respondents said that they expected to see a significant increase in testing and/or exercising activities in the year ahead. In the 2018 survey this increased to 9.5 percent; and, in 2019, it reached 11 percent.
New or updated business continuity software implementations are again high on the list of expected changes. In 2018, 10.8 percent of respondents stated that their organization would be implementing new BC software; in 2019 10.1 percent of organizations expect to be making this change.
Cyber threats are also high on the priority list. 9.2 percent of respondents expect to give more attention to cyber security and cyber risks in 2019, compared to 10.2 percent in 2018.
In 2018, 7.5 percent of respondents expected to see new IT DR, availability or cloud technologies being implemented during the year; this trend continues, with 8.25 percent of respondents saying that 2019 will see developments in these areas.
2019 sees a new entrant into the list of top changes, with 7.3 percent of organizations expecting to increase their focus on crisis management. In the 2018 survey, less than 2 percent of respondents expected this to be the main change in the way their organization managed business continuity.
The full list of the ten top change trends is as follows, with results from the 2018 trends and challenges survey in brackets:
- 22 percent will be making major revisions to BCM strategies and/or BCP(s) (20.4 percent);
- 11 percent of respondents expect to see a significant increase in testing and/or exercising activities in 2018 (9.5 percent);
- 10.1 percent are planning to implement new or updated business continuity software (10.8 percent);
- 9.2 percent will be giving more attention to cyber security and cyber risks (10.2 percent);
- 8.25 percent will be implementing new IT DR, availability or cloud technologies (7.5 percent);
- 7.3 percent expect to increase their focus on crisis management (not listed in 2018);
- Expanding the business continuity team will be the biggest change in 5 percent of organizations (not listed in 2018);
- 5 percent expect significant organizational changes to have a big impact on business continuity management (6.8 percent);
- 5 percent are planning to implement an enterprise or organizational resilience approach (not listed in 2018);
- 3.7 percent of respondents expect to see the integration of BCM with other teams during 2019 (6.1 percent).
Respondents were asked to report on ‘the biggest challenge that may hold back business continuity developments within your organization during 2019’:
- Lack of budget and resources was by far the number one challenge, with 52.4 percent saying that this will be their top challenge in 2019. This was a large increase from the 34.4 percent who saw this as their top challenge in 2018.
- When broken down, of the 52.4 percent who said that budget and resources were their top challenge, 52 percent said that lack of an appropriate budget would be their main issue (55 percent in 2018); and 48 percent said that lack of resources was their top issue (45 percent in 2018).
- Lack of organizational support for, and general apathy about, business continuity activities is expected to be the biggest challenge in 17.75 percent of organizations (6.7 percent in 2018);
- Lack of senior management buy-in will be the biggest challenge in 13.7 percent of organizations (10.5 percent in 2018);
- High levels of organizational changes will be the main challenge for 8 percent of respondents (3.7 percent in 2018);
- Other business issues distracting the organization or taking resources away from business continuity sits at 8 percent (8.6 percent in 2018);
- Brexit was a new challenge which entered the list in this year’s survey, with 5.6 percent of organizations stating that this is the biggest challenge that will hold back organizational business continuity developments in 2019.
Business continuity spending in 2019
Spending on business continuity will remain static in many organizations in 2019, with 48.1 percent of respondents saying that business continuity spending will be the same as 2018. This figure is similar to the 2018 survey, where this figure was 51.98 percent.
Encouragingly, 38.9 percent of respondents said that business continuity spending would go up in 2019; the number of respondents saying that business continuity spending would go up in 2018 was 33.9 percent. 31.3 percent of respondents said that business continuity spending would be higher in 2019 (27.7 percent in 2018) and 7.6 percent (6.2 percent in 2018) said it would be much higher.
9.9 percent (9.6 percent in the 2018 survey) of respondents said that organizational business continuity spending would be lower in 2019 than in 2018; and 3.1 percent (4.5 percent) said that it would be ‘much lower’.
Finally, the survey asked respondents about how their organization’s business continuity team is likely to change in 2019. The majority 62.1 (69.5 percent in 2018) said that their business continuity team would remain the same size.
There was a significant increase in the number of organizations expecting to recruit more business continuity team members in 2019, with 30.3 percent (23.2 percent in 2018) saying that this will be the case.
Only 7.6 percent (7.3 percent) said that business continuity teams would reduce in size.