SunGard warns directors who fail to take action on business continuity risk accusations of dereliction of duty
Directors who fail to take action on business continuity risk accusations of dereliction of duty, SunGard Availability Services warned today.
“With concerns over energy supplies and freak weather, and supply chain risks likely to peak during the winter months, it is vital that organisations are prepared to absorb any eventuality,” commented Keith Tilley, managing director UK and senior vice-president Europe for SunGard Availability Services.
Commenting on a new report published by SunGard, Tilley said: ‘Crucially, we show how their approach has subtly changed tack, to focus on Information Availability - harnessing business continuity practices alongside disaster recovery and zero downtime infrastructures to help the entire organisation become not just more resilient, but more agile as well.’
“The most challenging part of business continuity management lies in embedding a culture of continuity within the organisation.
Steve Mellish, head of business continuity for Sainsbury's
Discussing the lessons learned by organisations following disasters including the 7/7 bombings, the Buncefield fuel depot blast and the 2007 floods, the report also examines emerging risks and opportunities presented by flexible working practices, globalisation, and the growing expectations of customers.
Tilley continued: “The fact that planning for business continuity and Information Availability has declined over the past few years is a real worry. Our message is stark: get serious about business continuity, or jeopardise the future of the entire organisation. There is no longer any excuse for not taking action.”
Steve Mellish, head of business continuity for Sainsbury’s, and a contributor to the report commented: “The most challenging part of business continuity management lies in embedding a culture of continuity within the organisation. At Sainsbury’s, business continuity is included in almost every aspect of our business, from employee training to corporate responsibility. As a result, we have laid a solid foundation for sustainable growth.”
Key findings from the report include:
Employee availability: The importance of maintaining staff well-being following any kind of incident, drawing on the example of the British Medical Journal, which, following the 7/7 blast in Russell Square, had to relocate its entire operations, just four days before the magazine's publication deadline. A critical element of the organisation's successful recovery was the provision of on-site counselling for months after the incident.
Customer expectations heightening: A YouGov poll commissioned by SunGard in late 2006 demonstrated the potentially disastrous impact of business interruption on customer loyalty. Just 11% of respondents said that they tolerate poor service without complaining. Meanwhile more than two in five will not only take their business elsewhere - they will also advise their friends to do the same. In this way, interruptions can rapidly snowball into a real calamity.
Business continuity planning is declining: Just over 40% of companies polled by the Chartered Management Institute in April 2007 have continuity plans in place (down from 46% in 2005), and business continuity management is still almost exclusively viewed as an IT-related discipline.
The emergence of a new Standard for business continuity management: BS 25999 lays down key processes and definitions, paving the way for organisations that meet its requirements to secure certification.