BCM, crisis management and corona

BCM, crisis management and corona

From now on the blog posts of Birthe Christiansen from the BCM Academy GmbH, our subsidiary, will be published here. 

"We need a plan B... "

BCM (Business Continuity Management) is designed to prepare companies to have a "Plan B". This plan should help to remain capable of action in an emergency or crisis - the company should not stand still, even if important resources such as work rooms or personnel are not available. The BC Manager is responsible for implementation, but responsibility for Plan B lies with top management.

"A lot of work - in normal operation"

When a company is just starting to build a BCM system, it can be a lot of work to write such a "plan B". This is where the specialist departments - i.e. the "operative level" of a company - are particularly important.

The BC Manager works according to the so-called "BCM Lifecycle", a standardized procedure, and uses a so-called BIA (Business Impact Analysis) together with the specialist departments to estimate how time-critical this specialist department is.

"Efficiency: Only the time-critical areas have to plan!"

The BC Manager only wants to secure the time-critical departments! If areas or processes are not time-critical at BIA, they do not need to carry out any further steps in the lifecycle.

The really critical areas then work with the BC Manager to find out which work equipment, which computer apps and how much personnel are required at least.
Then they jointly consider how exactly they would like to work "elsewhere" with other equipment or other people in the event of an emergency - everything to maintain emergency operation for the duration of the situation.

For example, remote access is made possible so that employees can work from home in time-critical areas. This often requires money to be invested and IT must be upgraded. As a rule, it is in the interest of top management to find good solutions but also not to invest too much money - the view of BCM to secure only the time-critical areas is therefore usually very much to the liking of top management ... and then came Corona - but more about that later.

"BC plans are ideally not thick tomes"

But we're still not finished yet... all the information gathered is now being written into plans by the departments. No "thick tome", but short and crisp instructions for the big failure!

The next step in the lifecycle is to practice and test properly. Does this really work and also in practice when we work from home? Can we make it to the alternative location within the given time? Does the alternative supplier really deliver in the desired quality and at the right time?

"Able to act - Operationally and strategically!"

But what does "able to act" mean from the BC Manager's point of view?

Capable of action means that the time-critical departments continue to operate despite the loss of important resources (personnel, work rooms, IT systems, etc.). In other words, it ensures that the operative level is able to act.

But who determines when the plans of the operative areas are activated? Who calls the crisis out? And who, pray tell, will lead the company through the crisis?

"Crises can have many headings"

The BC Manager prepares the company operationally for the 4 (for manufacturing companies 5) large scenarios:

Failure of

  • Buildings

  • Personnel

  • IT / Infrastructure

  • Service providers / suppliers

  • Production facilities

But the crisis manager prepares his crisis team for many countless other topics: Cyber attacks, pandemics, compliance issues, security incidents, liquidity problems, market changes, fraud ... Every company has its own topics.

"BC plans can save the crisis team time"

The interaction between the BC Manager and the crisis manager is therefore clear: if the IT / infrastructure fails or an important supplier no longer delivers, the crisis team can activate the plans in the operational area - here things will then run according to plan.

In this way, the crisis team can take care of the strategic issues in such a crisis and no longer has to invest precious time in maintaining time-critical business operations. Hopefully, the BC Manager has done good groundwork here with the specialist departments.

"Everyone works from the home office!"

This was the decision of many companies in times of the corona virus. Everyone is calling for the BC Manager - he must have a plan, right? Didn't we say that work should be done from home?

Yes, we did ... but at BCM we just concentrated on the time-critical processes. The fact that all employees were suddenly supposed to access the systems remotely was of course not planned.

The crisis management teams in the companies have now decided to invest money and expand the remote access options. This will probably make the BC Manager's work easier in the future.

"BC managers are not Catastrophe Managers..."

The BC Manager is responsible for preparing the company for major interruptions and for dealing with the temporary loss of the above-mentioned resources.

In times of the Corona virus and the collapse of the entire economy, not only in Germany, the BC Manager reaches its limits. Elements from the plans are helpful and provide information about the operation of the company. The BC Manager can support the crisis team with his knowledge and use the plans as a source of ideas for possible solutions - but ultimately the crisis teams now have the difficult task of making the right decisions to deal with this global catastrophe.

#bcm #business continuity #crisis management #planb #corona