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Planning a revolution?

Deborah Ritchie
Continuity, Risk and Insurance magazine
1 March 2008


In CIR magazine's business continuity supplement, PA's Stuart Anderson comments on how business continuity plans are no longer sufficient in the current dynamic environment.

There is no argument against business continuity planning. But existing business continuity planning activities may be too often focused on detailed plans for individual risks, leading them to become quickly stale. The challenge of keeping a wide portfolio of specific plans up to date is becoming more and more difficult. On top of this, new risk dynamics need to be taken into account. Speed, complexity and interdependence make today’s operating environment increasingly difficult causing the enterprise’s boundaries to be extended. Real challenges lie ahead for governments and businesses – no matter where they are.

A preliminary review of the results of Marsh’s latest survey into business continuity practices shows that serious questions exist around the effectiveness of the plans practitioners say they have in place. These challenges herald a move to this resilience focus where a more strategic view is taken, linked to business risk. “Benefits of a resilience approach include positioning an organisation to make the most of sudden opportunities – disruptions are not necessarily negative,” points out Stuart Anderson, principal consultant at PA Consulting Group. “Traditional business continuity plans tend to plan for predicted events – in some cases this is not acceptable any more – or even appropriate,” he adds. Plans must now take a wider organisational view – they are operating in an increasingly challenging environment where the risks are changing more quickly, and are more difficult to predict.

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