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Business Continuity in the 21st Century Essay


Modern world events now make us to organize for and manage earlier incredible and unprecedented disasters as well as troublesome events that may threaten the prospect and very existence of the organization. Business Continuity Planning is the progress of recovery procedures that are intended to reduce the business risks associated with disasters and troublesome events decrease the prospect of such incidents, make certain the availability of quick recovery procedures, furthermore the ability to prolong operation of critical business processes in the event a disaster or distraction should happen.

The Business Continuity Plan is a collection of events that provides practical recovery strategies as well as recovery plans, engages contribution from all the stakeholders, responsibilities are noticeably defined and implicit, backed by executive management, recognized the impact of potential losses, as well as ensures the continuity of business operations throughout a potential disaster. (Clark, 2003)

Critical Analysis

A Business Continuity Planning guide for a small organization may be just a printed manual stored safely away from the primary work location, including the names, addresses, as well as telephone numbers for disaster management staff, general staff members, customers, as well as vendors together with the location of the offsite data backup storage system, copies of insurance contracts, furthermore other critical materials essential for organizational endurance.

The Business Continuity Program authorizes individual business sectors to make out their own critical business processes furthermore expand separate business continuity plans for apiece which are followed by organized as well as executed as a coordinated business recovery plan. A lot of businesses nowadays still do not have a Business Continuity of Operations Plan.

At its most multifaceted, a BCP manual may draw a secondary work site, technical requirements along with readiness, regulatory reporting necessities, and work recovery measures, the means to reinstate physical records, the means to set up a new supply chain, or the means to found new production centers. Firms must ensure that their BCP manual is practical and accessible for the duration of a crisis. By itself, BCP sits along with crisis management as well as disaster recovery planning and is a component of an organization’s risk management in general.

The progress of a Business Continuity Planning guide may have 5 main phases:

  • Analysis
  • Solution design
  • Implementation
  • Testing and organization recognition
  • Maintenance.

The above list is not comprehensive. There are numerous other concerns that could be integrated in your own plan / manual. Risk Identification Matrix as well as Roles and Responsibilities (making sure names are left out however titles are included, for example Human Resource Manager) – Identification of top risks as well as justifying strategies. – Considerations for resource reallocation such as skills matrix for larger business. (Obloj, 2002)

A great deal of the business continuity planning material on the internet is supported by consultancies who offer fee-based services for business continuity planning solution development, on the other hand basic tutorials are freely accessible on the internet for suitably motivated companies.

Natural and artificial disasters list with which businesses have had to compete early in the 21st century is long. The ensuing disruptions have rippled diagonally supply chains, shaken whole industries as well as taken their toll on employee, client and partner relations. Not amazingly, organizations of every type along with sizes are making crisis awareness as well as response a main focus of their business continuity planning.

Possibilities are, your company is taking a proactive approach and frequently looking at ways to minimize the impact that potential crises can have on your business processes and technology systems. Up till now, even though your company’s business continuity plan most probable serves to defend your company’s physical assets, for example its data, network, core business applications as well as facilities, how well does it tackle the man-made disasters?

It is significant to build resiliency into your business operations, however it’s just as significant to build resiliency into your human capital. One way to attain human capital resiliency is to make sure that your company has addressed the people-related mechanism of business continuity planning. (Obloj, 2002)

Human capital resilience—a new region of focus

Human capital resiliency can be described as a company’s aptitude to react and adapt quickly to threats posed to its personnel. Companies that can construct resiliency into their human capital are more probable to defend their most precious resources and uphold continuous operations in the event of a disaster.

Several forward-thinking companies are previously considering the impact of short-term disturbances in normal business activities as well as identifying suitable actions to maintain vital business processes in the event of a disaster. (Meyer, 2003) Furthermore, they are looking at continuing trends, for example changes in workforce demographics as well as customer buying patterns. Whereas not anticipated to have instant consequences, these trends could influence human capital resilience furthermore other features of human capital management in the future. (Meyer, 2003)

Crisis Management and Response Team Development

The endurance of your business after a disaster depends on having a confirmed Business Continuity of Operations Plan in place. For the majority of businesses as well as governmental agencies operating in the 21st century to research, extend, as well as implement a complete Business Continuity of Operations agenda for the company, it is necessary that an appropriate administrative structure be put in place to effectively deal with disaster management. Obvious definitions must survive for a management structure, authority for decisions, as well as accountability for implementation.

An organization must have a Crisis Management Team to guide incident/event response. The Team must be comprised of such functions as human resources, I.T., facilities, safety, legal, communications and media relations, manufacturing, warehousing, as well as other business significant support functions, with all under the obvious direction of senior management or its council.

The Crisis Management Team might be sustained by as a lot of Response Teams as suitable taking into account such issues as company size and type, number of workers, location, and all that. Response Teams must grow Response Plans to address a variety of features of potential crises, for example damage assessment, site reinstatement, payroll, human resources, I.T., as well as administrative support. Response Plans have to be dependable and incorporated within general Business Continuity Planning. Individuals must be enlisted for membership on Response Teams based upon their abilities, level of commitment, as well as vested concerns. (Buck, 1998)

Contact Information

Contact information for workers assigned to disaster management along with response teams must be incorporated within the plans, personal information for example unlisted telephone numbers as well as home addresses must be confined. The association must set up procedures to make sure that the information is reserved up to date. Concerns must be given to a Business Continuity Planning software tool that supports successful change management.

Benefits of Testing

The reimbursement and requirement for testing, that entails training and exercises, cannot be exaggerated. Testing can maintain Teams and employees effective in their duties, explain their roles, as well as expose weaknesses in the Business Continuity Planning that must be corrected. A pledge to testing lends reliability and influence to the Business Continuity Planning.

Objectives and Expectations

The initial step in testing should be the setting of objectives as well as expectations. A clear objective is to decide whether a certain crisis response process works and how it can be make better.

Other less noticeable objectives can be to test capacity (as in the case of a recall or call-out phone system, such as), to decrease the time essential for achievement of a process (such as, using repeated drills to shorten answer times), and to get understanding and knowledge to the common employee population regarding the Business Continuity Planning. Lessons learned from preceding tests, in addition to actual incidents experienced, must be assembled into the testing cycle for the Business Continuity Planning.

Planning and Development

The accountability for testing the Business Continuity Planning must be assigned. Larger corporations may reflect on establishing a Test Team. Where suitable, the proficiency of external resources (advisors, local emergency as well as organizations, and so forth.) can be leveraged.


A test schedule as well as timeline as to how regularly the plan and its components will be tested should be recognized.

The scope of testing must be planned to develop over time. In their early years, tests must start out somewhat easy, becoming gradually more difficult as the test process evolves. Untimely tests could comprise checklists, simple exercises, in addition to small components of the Business Continuity Planning. As the test schedules develop, tests should become more and more complex, up to a complete activation of the complete Business Continuity Planning, counting external contribution by public security and emergency responders. (Michailova, 2003)

Test Monitoring

When possible, assign observers to take notes throughout the test. If feasible, organize to videotape or use audiotape devices for additional assessment at the end of the exercise. If videotape and audiotape devices are not obtainable, then a person must be assigned to document the in order list of events for the duration of the testing.

Financial support and education of employee

Your company should invest in an education program to educate employees how to successfully prepare for and act in response to different types of disasters. Steps you can take contain giving employees’ precise, the latest information regarding disaster preparation, commonly updating as well as posting relevant policies and training employees to execute emergency procedures.

Moreover, develop a support network for employees. Make a decision what support services your corporation should and can propose, and then find suitable providers to help you bring them. Resources that your organization can make obtainable throughout a disaster comprise counseling, medical along with health services, housing and provisional shelters, child care as well as supplies. (Czegledy, 1996)

Fundamental infrastructure

In the event that your employees cannot reach their main work location (for example during a transit strike) or that they decide to work offsite (to pass up risk of infection during a pandemic), make it feasible for them to work distantly. Adopting a effective working environment requires that your corporation address explicit technology as well as communication requirements, as well as providing remote access and support, online tools and joint workspaces. Your corporation must intimately observe its processes to better identify with how they can be carried out in an essential environment.

Job training

It is significant that your corporations discover critical business processes as well as train appropriate personnel (counting partners) ahead of time to finish disaster response plans. Consider by means of online tools along with collaborative workspaces to develop and set free ‘on demand’ disaster response training materials. Furthermore, make cross-train employees on key expertise and capabilities so they can take on new tasks, if required. Advance mentoring among individuals where experiential knowledge is vital and hard to capture, as well as initiate job shadowing as a successful technique for building unneeded skills among employees. (Michailova, 2003)

Talent management

Your association should plan for replacements of key workers by first identifying business-critical roles, for example those in which people hold significant institutional knowledge, give leadership or develop customer relationships. After that, categorize sources of backup people in the case of a crisis.

Your association must consider engaging external business partners to afford short-term aptitude in situations where employees might not be able to work. A significant part of talent management lies in achieving organizational buy-in concerning sequence plans and leadership development programs, as well as ensuring that those plans address the possible for both short- as well as long-term business interferences.

Make sure your organization is prepared to manage talent at all levels:

– At the personal level, think about what competencies each employee needs to expand to carry out at optimal levels on the job as well as to help ensure long-term career development.

– At the business unit level, confirm that your corporation identifies what competencies, executive designs as well as support processes are necessary for the business to achieve something.

– At the project level, reflect on how talent pools necessitate developing to help ensure that your corporation can carry out its business strategy furthermore gain competitive advantage. (Czegledy, 1996)

HR systems and reporting

For any organization to run successfully in 21st century, it is necessary that your HR department should be prepared to bring core services for the duration of a disaster, in addition to to monitor and report on the locations of displaced workers. Ensure that your business continuity plan covers your payroll as well as benefits administration systems, and that it identifies individuals who can be called on to maintain both recovery efforts and ongoing operations — furthermore provides their contact information. If you outsource significant HR procedures to 3rd-party providers, confirm that they, also, are ready to deal with disaster.

Moreover, decide how your company’s intranet as well as other communications technologies can be used to their complete benefit for disaster research along with response initiatives.


At last, it is concluded that early preparation for effective disaster response is the duty of every person in your company. Your company must work to inspire your organizational culture with the values as well as behaviors that would be helpful in disasters. Make an assessment how well your corporation promotes confidence, cooperation, flexibility and other key qualities; then enhance internal programs to support your culture in areas where it is weak. Furthermore, reflect on allowing employees to propose colleagues to proceed as points of contact as well as change agents in period of disaster.


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. Columbia Journal of World Business 28, p.18-36

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