Managing business environment is one of the challenges which organisations have no control over. There has been escalation in crisis, disasters, and emergencies as many companies enter into the market (Tammineedi 2010, p. 79).
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Moreover, it is essential for organisations in either the public or private sector to develop a suitable and effective Business Continuity Management (BCM). According to ISO 22301, BCM is a holistic management method of identifying potential threats to organisational activities.
BCM also provides a framework for which organisations build resilience to the identified threats and effectively respond (Rabelo, Sepulveda, Compton, Moraga, & Turner 2006, p. 145). BCM plays an important role in risk management within the company.
There it is important to understand the driving factors of BCM, which ensure effective and reliable execution of the organisational plans. The key drivers of BCM include are highlighted below.
With the changing legal requirements globally, business entities must adjust to comply with outlined laws and regulations. In order to run smoothly and efficiently, the organisations must meet the increasing demands of legislations and requirement by the industrial regulators.
Under corporate governance, business entities must also comply with regulations relating to contract management. Before business activities commence, it is important to ensure the organisation registers its activities to acquire a license of operation.
BCM must integrate corporate governance in its plans to ensure that its organisational strategies fully complies with the outlines laws to eliminate possibility of closure or interruption of activities.
Supply chain and customer
All businesses must prove their ability to satisfy the needs of their customers. External factors such as the demand and supply might affect the operation of the business. It is important that the business maintain continuous supply of the products and services to the customers (Rabelo et al. 2006, p. 149).
Supply chain involves a series of processes involved in manufacturing and distribution of commodities. In order to manage risks resulting from supply chain, it is important to involve the third party in planning, executing, and monitoring continuity strategies.
The supply chain must concentrate on outsourcing duties that the service provides can offer at lower cost. Moreover, this ensures improvement in the performance and effectiveness.
Globally, all businesses are integrating environmental issue into the production process. While producing, businesses must ensure sustainability of natural resources. Certain activities have negative impact on the environment. Pollution is one of the environmental issues, which many businesses experience.
Moreover, many organisations are utilising techniques that reduce environmental damage; as a result, there is reduction in the cost of sustainability management (Federal Emergency Management Agency 2011).
To ensure improvement in the brand image, business organisations must ensure their product fully complies with environmental requirements in order to acquire international recognition.
Communication and public relations
All organisations are vulnerable to crises thus, preparation to handle the risks is crucial. The business must freely interact with both the stakeholders to anticipate proactively the crises. Inadequate information and poor public relations increases the chances of the business to experience crisis.
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Upon realisation of a gap in production process, it is importance to communicate with the management team to address the issue before it begins posing threats. Reacting to a crisis without adequate and credible information is likely to result in negative outcome and a waste of time.
BCM life cycle
This is an interactive process tool, which guides the implementation of effective Business Crisis Management process. Organisational assessment techniques vary from one organisation to another.
An effective assessment ensures implementation of good practices that improves organisational level of competition and ability in the market. There are six stages involved in BCM life cycle, which include:
Understanding the business
In this stage, it is important to identify all the business activities and challenges faced. Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business are important in planning as these factors determine the efficiency and effectiveness of business activities.
Moreover, understanding factors that influence the operation of the business like political environment, economic and socio-economic factors, technological changes, and environmental issues affects the general operations of the business.
Analysing the business impacts, risk assessment, and control measure are some of the ways of understanding the business.
Analysing BCM strategies
The main objective of BCM is to reduce the crisis resulting from failure of the organisation to integrate economic determinant in the management process. BCM strategies are approaches used by business entities to ensure their recovery and continuity while experiencing disasters or activities, which interrupt the business.
It is crucial the organisations analyse strategies related to audits like financial, Information Technology, human resources, and environment to improve accountability and efficiency. This stage also focuses on resources recovery technique.
Developing and implementing BCM response
Planning is a process that requires time in order to meet its objectives. While developing a strategic response, it is important to consider both external bodies and relevant organisations.
Proper planning allows the organisation to identify the crises at an earlier stage and formulate methods of handling the crisis that is likely to occur. Communication, public relations, and media are some of the techniques organisations use to acquire information on the crisis to be handled.
It is also crucial to note the methods that external organisations use in handling related crises. Poor implementation of the response often results due to under-estimation of the impact. As a result, this only gives a short-term solution to the problem.
Creating and implanting BCM culture
BCM focuses on acquiring information from the public. Therefore, it is important to educate the management team on how to recognise crisis, which organisations are likely to experience.
Awareness creation among the employees also plays a key role in ensuring sustainability of BCM culture within the organisation. It is also important to integrate organisational culture in BCM while planning in order to reduce probability of occurrence of internal crisis.
Exercising, maintain, and conducting audits
Practicing BCM within an organisation guarantees the management reduced or minimum levels of crisis. Therefore, it is significant to apply BCM technique at all the levels of the business.
Even with implementation, crises still occur; thus, monitoring and evaluating implemented decision on methods of reducing the levels of crises. This step also involves testing of various technologies and staff rehearsal and ways they influence the occurrence crisis.
The BCM programme
Considered a tool of managing crisis and reducing the likelihood of their occurrence, BCM requires the commitment of the management and their proactive participation. This ensures efficiency and effectiveness of the decision made. Moreover, management participation creates a sense belonging thereby.
For proper implementation, the management must outline the roles for each member of the response team (Smith and Elliot 2002, p. 43). The members must take up their responsibilities in ensuring the strategy complies with the outlined legal requirements.
Application of theory of change management process of implementing a BCM system
Change Managements Process (CMP) is a series of steps and activities, which the leaders follow to effect change. BCM applies techniques used in CMP like public participation to effect changes.
In order to avoid any problems from arising, it is important to avoid forcing change on the people but involving them in the planning process (Federal Emergency Management Agency 2011). Change management insists on specific, realistic, quantifiable, attainable, and time-bound goals.
In addition, the theory discourages ‘selling’ change to the public as this activity poses unsustainable strategy for prosperity. Instead, it encourages the need to understand and manage change effectively that the public can cope with (Fink 2002, p. 46).
The responsibility of the employees is to ensure they offer their best to ensure the success of the organisation but not managing change.
BCM applies the principles of change management while planning on how to prevent occurrence of crisis. It embraces sustainability from the people within the environmental, cultural, and behavioural system (Hiles 2008, p. 94).
Through identification of the activities occurring within the organisation, BCM integrates change management principles to understand the position held by the business in the market.
Both the theory and BCM focuses on planning developments with an aim of establishing the targets and duration required to realise achievement of these targets (Rawls and Smithson 1990, p. 103). It is important in both cases to employ planning approaches, which are measurable in stages.
Additionally, BCM applies change factors like communication, stakeholder involvement, and enabling environment at an earlier stage. This ensures integration of all views in the decision-making process and improvement in transparency. Patience and tolerance are very important virtues used to address resistance to change.
Relationship between organisational culture and BCM
Organisational culture defines how it relates to the outside community, methods of ensuring the products meets the requirement of products, and how the organises uses its core values to initiate change. It is important to fit together all the elements of culture to address leadership challenges.
For reliable and efficient result, BCM integrates organisational culture through administration of questionnaires with an objective of covering the views of both the stakeholders and the public (Elliott, Swartz, and Herbane 2010, p. 75).
Many organisations are experiencing difficulty with the changing cultures; therefore, they are ensuring consideration of mind changing tools is crucial since they positively affect the possibility of success (Association of Contingency Planners 2000).
Some organisation invests in training the employees to offer quality services as their culture. BCM on the hand involve a team of professional personnel to plan ways of avoiding future crisis.
Moreover, organisations are relying on formal continuity policies to enhance BCM programmes, which include all the key elements of driving organisation towards crisis preparedness (Regester and Larkin 2002, p. 58).
Elements as corporate culture influences the outcome of BCM plan since it determines how the organisation relates to the public.
Factors of effective crisis management
An effective crisis management has important benefits organisations against economic effects of unforeseen crisis. Therefore, to ensure effectiveness of the outcome, the plan must integrate all the factors that aid in organisational change. These factors include:
Strong demonstration of leadership and commitment
Crisis management is a process that requires professionalism and commitment in order to achieve positive results. Involvement of professions offers a wide range of global alternatives from which the organisation can choose from to prevent crisis (Watkins 2002).
Strong leadership ensures execution of planned activities in a logical manner, as a result, helping in identifying crisis likely to happen at every stage.
Earlier planning before the crisis occurs
Organisation should never wait until a crisis occur to begin planning, instead, they should monitor and evaluate the performance of the organisation within a stipulated period.
Earlier planning involves unveiling of crisis team whose responsibility is to monitor, control, and co-ordinate organisational activities in a strategic manner (Blythe 2009, p. 16).
Timely response to the realised crisis
Most organisations identify crisis at their initial stage and assumes until maturity. The longer the duration taken to handle a crisis, the more damage caused. Moreover, tackling crisis at an earlier stage reduces the cost managing the risk at later stages.
In timely identification of the crisis, the leadership team should be on high alert to note any slight change in the organisational performance.
Clear identification and verification of the crisis in question
In some case, the managerial team identifies a gap with its performances but fails to note specific problem.
This is crucial as most organisations end up forming a group of committed people to address the issue generally without actually knowing the problem they are trying to address. Such strategies often give negative and irrelevant results and time wastage (Smith and Elliot 2002, p. 61).
Evaluation of BCM use to as a tool for risk management strategy
Every organisation experiences risks or is prone to some risks. Therefore, it is important to identify these risks before they have negative impacts on the organisational activities. BCM covers a wide range of risk management techniques (Seymour and Moore 2000, p. 27).
There is a close connection between risk management and BCM. BCM gathers information about the risk through public and stakeholder involvement. It then uses the information to determine the possibility of crisis occurrence and risks associated with it.
BCM planning strategy assist in identifying the risks at earlier stages and recommends methods of establishing recovery strategies (Perry 2007, p. 58). Moreover, the technique involves reviewing of the effectiveness and reliability of risk control measures.
The role of BCM in the industrial sectors, geographical areas, and organisational size
BCM plays an important role in the management of unforeseen crisis. The technique involves identification of the risks, monitoring, and recommending methods of mitigating and controlling the impacts of identified risks. Industries also employ BCM methods to identify the market gaps and causes of change in the performance (Continuity Forum 2011).
Moreover, this technique assists the managerial team to adjust its planned activities to provide goods and services meeting the expectation of customers. Most industries utilise BCM technique as a resilience tool to recover from crisis impact (Omand 2004, p. 150).
Separation of professional with BCM skill into different geographical locations reduces the possibility of losing personnel with skills and knowledge.
Organisations operating in different locations should ensure at least all the branches have qualified personnel (Disaster Recovery Institute 2007). This enables the organisations to identify the crises at early stage and commence earlier monitoring programmes.
Possibility of risk occurrence increases due to increasing size of the organisation. This due increases number of activities and services taking place within the organisation (Laye 2002, p. 88).
Furthermore, organisations should ensure there is at least BCM professions in every department to help in solve the risks at departmental stage.
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