Have you ever been involved in studying this or even responsible for ensuring it happens? Perhaps you have never even heard of the term – some people call it disaster recovery (DR), which describes the process in a rather more direct way.
Naturally the experts in this area prefer BCP to DR because it implies that whatever is thrown at a company, they should be able to smoothly handle the situation using a continuity plan and not just be recovering from a disaster.
But sometimes, even the best plans for business continuity can falter.
How did companies in the New York region recently cope with Hurricane Irene? Many of them had no possibility of ensuring business continuity; with no public transport, no electricity, and evacuation orders being enforced, how could any business operate as normal?
I was in Washington DC and New York myself over the past few weeks and witnessed the damage caused by the earthquake and then hurricane. Where I was staying, we had no electricity for five entire days!
For some businesses a crisis like this can only be a disaster. A small store relying on electricity to keep fresh stock cold won’t be able to do a thing to mitigate against disruption, but where companies need their customer service operation to always be functioning, even under extreme circumstances, there is an option.
Partnership. Remember when the ash cloud caused chaos in the European travel sector last year? Teleperformance was working for some in the travel industry and we quickly scaled up our operation seamlessly for those clients.
Likewise, when the Foreign & Commonwealth Office needed an ash cloud information line that would be handling tens of thousands of information requests everyday – and needed to be running immediately – we stepped up and delivered.
Nobody can predict every possible business eventuality or disaster, but getting partners on board who don’t just behave as a contracted supplier and will stand with you when disaster strikes, can make the difference between continuity or collapse.