I declare that this research work is my original work and has never been presented to any University or College for the academic credit.
Statement of Issue
McEntire defines business continuity and crisis management (BCCM) as a practice that seeks to ensure that an organization remains focused through securing its existence (285). McEntire asserts that a business ensures its continuity by investing in activities that seek to prevent, prepare and respond to the emerging disasters. He also argues that such a program should be consistent with the organization’s “strategic objectives” (285). The issue at hand is whether an organization should adapt a business crisis and continuity management program. In order to understand this issue, it is vital to look into the background information about the BCCM, to whom it is relevant to and the importance of BCCM. This paper seeks to argue that a business crisis and continuity management program is a prerequisite strategy for managing disasters before they happen, and thus, is vital for any organization.
There is a number of risk factors that threaten the continuity of an organization. Such risks include; floods, fires, cyber crimes, system failures, court suits and earthquakes among others. Fulmer refers to these risk factors as disasters. He asserts that disasters are prone to occur at any time for varied reasons, and that organizations should have a plan to cater for such issues (4). It has been reported that more than 96 percent of organizations that have no disaster recovery plans are most likely to close down within five years after the emergence of a disaster. Further, disasters disrupt the functioning of an organization, and as such, companies that are disrupted for a period of more than ten days are doomed to fail or take a very long time to recuperate from the disaster (Fulmer 4-5).
It is such facts and the associated risk dynamics that trigger organizations to seek a refuge in planning for the unexpected. Elliot, Swartz and Herbane (1) report that the origin of the concept of business continuity management (BCM) which has over the years developed to the current concept of BCCM originated from the concept of disaster recovery. The main rationale behind the disaster recovery programs was based on information systems and the need to recover lost data in case of a disruption. Elliot, Swartz and Herbane (2-9) argue that the concept of BCM has evolved within the last twenty years. They view this concept as a ‘holistic management’ tool that manages disasters through the strategic planning in the quest to build on the resilience of an organization (Elliot, Swartz and Herbane 3)
The function and rationale of BCM has changed overtime. The BCM frameworks have transformed due to the change in the way organizations propagate their mandate, the nature of their shareholders and their needs. This has seen the transformation of the adapted BCM strategies from a technical point of view to a compliance strategy, and later to a strategic management tool in the form of BCCM (Elliot, Swartz and Herbane 2-29). Apart from conserving vital information and complying with the states regulations, organizations have embraced BCCM as a tool towards ensuring the strategic positioning in their respective industries and globally.
Business crisis and continuity management is a vital strategic management tool. This is because of the nature of internal and external operating environments that organizations are consistently subjected to. The evolution of the BCCM concept within the last two decades has demonstrated its relevance in managing risks. This has been demonstrated through advocacy for investing in activities that seek to prevent, prepare and respond to the emerging disasters, in order to ensure the sustainability of organizations.
The reasons why all organizations should adopt a BCCM program include the dire need to curb the unpredictable nature of disasters, in order to maintain a competitive edge over the competitors. Further, the BCCM programs help organizations to maintain their clients and their reputation. In addition, such programs are paramount for purposes of meeting the legal requirements for the disaster preparedness and cutting on the financial expenditures. Lastly, the BCCM programs help organizations to protect their shareholders investments and build on their staff morale through the guaranteed safety.
In view of the benefits of the BCCM programs highlighted in this write-up, I recommend that all organizations adapt a BCCM program, in order to ensure the continuity of their business. Further, I recommend that organizations should invest adequate funds into the BCCM program, so as to cater for all the technical and social disruptions that are likely to affect their organization. I also recommend that the framework of the BCCM program be in line with Blyth (10) recommendations which advocate for the adaption of a BCCM plan that is comprehensive for the purposes of managing all the phases of a crisis. The plan should also be integrated, in order to cater for all stakeholders to the organization. A flexible BCCM program is also highly advocated for, as it allows the organization’s strategy to be in line with the changing tempo of disasters. Lastly, I recommend that before an organization invests in a BCCM program, an internal and external audit should be done, in order to identify all threats to the organization for the proper planning and adoption of an effective BCCM program.