Organizations both large and small need to have business continuity plans in place to manage unexpected business disruptions. Whether these events are triggered by severe weather, civil unrest, product failure or any of a myriad of other factors, the time to figure out how to manage an incident is not when that incident occurs.
Getting Started – The Right Leadership Model
Typically, a Business Continuity Manager is identified to lead the planning and preparedness process, and one of that person’s first responsibilities is to assemble the right team and governance structure. For Business Continuity Management (BCM) to be effective, it is essential that the effort receives organization-wide visibility and senior management support. Studies have shown that BCM programs with executive sponsor and senior management advisory boards or steering committees in place are significantly more successful at meeting their recovery time objectives than those with less senior management support.
Assembling the Business Continuity Team
The first step in identifying who needs to be on a Business Continuity team is to determine what potential events the team needs to plan for. A comprehensive BCM plan should cover a wide variety of potential events, including severe weather, natural disasters, physical security threats, IT incidents, supply chain interruptions, power outages, facilities damage, property theft, product safety and management reputation-related scandals. Once you have identified the threats, you will be in a better position to determine which people inside and outside your organization should be invited onto the BCM team to support continued business operations.
For the majority of BCM teams, membership will include:
- Executive Sponsor
- BCM Steering Committee
- Business Continuity Manager
- Key Suppliers and/or Retail Partners
- Department-Specific Recovery Team Leads
- Administration/Risk Management
- Customer Service
- Facilities Management
- Internal/External Communications
- Information Technology
- Human Resources
Once the team has been identified, systems need to be put in place to facilitate virtual business continuity management because disasters can occur anytime and it is frequently impossible to assemble the team in a physical location. Essential tools for virtual continuity management include smart notification and communications systems plus a web-based solution for incident tracking and management that enables all team members to have a common operating picture of the incident as it unfolds and access to the files, plans and templates they need to execute their assigned tasks.
Defining Roles and Responsibilities
Once the team has been assembled and systems are in place to facilitate communications across multiple device types to notify the group and sub-groups in the event of an emergency, it is important to make sure each team member understands their specific roles and responsibilities and plans are in place to execute these tasks effectively. The typical cycle of incident management starts with threat assessment then includes communications across multiple constituencies, issue mitigation and post-incident assessment. An effective BCM team will create and test plans then adapt them post-event to address weaknesses that were identified as part of the incident management process.
How to Use This Information
MissionMode will partner with your team and educate you so your IMS implementation is a total success for your organization. Schedule an online demonstration or call us today at 312-455-8811 to learn more about how the MissionMode IMS will benefit your organization and empower you to take your business continuity program to next level.