BCM - what it is NOT ...

BCM - what it is NOT ...

This is where the blog posts of Birthe Christiansen from the BCM Academy GmbH, our subsidiary, will be published.

I used to think that BCM stands for "Birthe contra Management" ... But views and opinions can be discussed! This little negative list describes what BCM is not and therefore somehow what it is. Maybe you have an addition from your own experiences?

Image source: Unsplash, royalty-free image​

No incidents, no catastrophes

Every company that strives for resilience has difficulties in avoiding certain processes. Each of these processes thus has its "dance floor".

That of BCM are critical incidents or often called "emergencies" - i.e. "events" that result in a longer interruption of time-critical processes. This means that a BCM system is neither responsible for minor disruptions (this is what incident management does) nor is it intended for the other extreme, the disasters. Companies often agree on this as well: in disasters, the scope for action by companies is so limited that it is almost impossible to act.

Very important especially now in corona times: If the BC manager has understood the topic of "BCM", he has of course NOT had a plan drawn up for ALL processes in the company, but only those for the time-critical processes. There is then NO budget for "home office for ALL employees", but only for those employees who work in time-critical processes. And to be honest, BC managers have often had a hard time getting the budget to go easy here...

No "trivia"

For reasons of efficiency, a BC Manager deals with the so-called "worst-case scenarios" and thus the failure of the most important resources that we - mostly - have in a company:

  • Loss of buildings

  • Loss of personnel

  • Loss of IT / infrastructure

  • Loss of service providers / suppliers

  • Loss of production facilities

The BC Manager will not let you write plans for individual reasons for resource failures. So there is a plan for each of the above scenarios. For example, that for the failure of buildings. A department with a time-critical process describes how it wants to deal with the outage and what its "Plan B" is - for example, working remotely as in a "home office".

"Departments usually have other things to do..."

Such a department does not write individual plans for sub-scenarios such as: "Building failure because there was a fire", "Building failure because the building was closed down", "Building failure because the foyer is flooded", "Building failure because a virus is spreading and we are all better off working from home" ...

Departments usually have other things to do besides writing plans for all eventualities.

No crisis management

A BC Manager is not there for crisis management - it is there to provide clever and effective plans for the operational departments for certain scenarios.

The fact that crisis management - i.e. strategic management in crisis situations - then accesses the plans in crises with BCM reference is not only intentional, but makes sense. The crisis management team no longer has to think about operational steps and can use the time for strategic procedures.

By the way: In the crisis team, scenario checklists (or "scenario plans", if you like) for "fire", "flood", "evacuation" make perfect sense!

You can read more about this in my blog post "BCM, crisis management and corona" (reading time: 4 minutes)

No risk management

On the to-do list of a BC Manager, which he creates based on the lifecycle, there is also the topic "Threat Analysis". This does not mean, however, that it should replace risk management or assign probabilities to events. It is not about identifying, assessing and reporting every conceivable risk and then working out proposals for eliminating it.

The BC Manager must select suitable and reasonable solutions and not calculate probabilities...

He should only know about the risks at locations in order to later select the appropriate and sensible solution ideas for protection. The BC Manager is not interested in how "likely" the occurrence of an event is in purely quantitative terms. In any case, he plans for scenarios which are rather unlikely but which, if they occur, will cause great damage - for example, the loss of a building and others (see above).

Nevertheless, a BC Manager should always report any risks which are found and otherwise not noted!

The situation is different if there is no established risk management. In this case the BC Manager cannot avoid approaching the subject of "Risk Management" with a high-level analysis.

No project... it never ends

A BCM system deals with an entire company, even beyond that with suppliers and service providers. It is simply designed to ensure that we are available with the most critical processes despite a long interruption!

"Please be as small as possible, only the essentials..."

Often top management gets the impression that they are going to do the work, write an "emergency plan", put it in a thick red folder with a dusty title "Emergency manual" and put it in the cupboard. All right, into two cupboards. But that's all right then ... That's all I need. Please as small as possible. Only the bare essentials, please.

No, sorry - it's not like that, I'm afraid. It doesn't work like that.

Processes and business models change - there is no such thing as "ready"...​

We live in a time in which processes or business models change and change, people come and go, new products are added or "shelf warmers" are abolished, it is outsourced, then insourced again.

As a result, we regularly review the implemented BCM system and adapt it to the changed conditions. Provided that you want it to work reliably in the event of an incident and not just a paper tiger. Then one should transfer the newborn BCM system into the process of regularity after the project of implementation.

No rocket science

Sure, you can complicate simple things terribly. You can certainly invent great formulas and functions and write thick books about all kinds of things, including BCM. But in the end it is and will remain as it is: No rocket science.

BCM is a bit like butter-cream cake.​..

Image source: Unsplash, royalty-free image


BCM is complex (a bit like butter-cream cake) but certainly not complicated. It is a management process you can "touch", it should work and create added value. I wouldn't go so far as to offer courses that go through all the topics (BCM, ITSCM and crisis management) in - let's say - 3 days and promise that you can do it then - everything, but it doesn't need a 7-semester course of study of its own.

Oh well, there is one more thing you need: enthusiasm for the topic, patience and a thick skin.

#bcmisnorocketscience #bcmacademyhh #goforresilience #planb #bcmislikebuttercreamcake #keepitsimple