So, it’s that time of the year again, when we look back over the last 12 months in business continuity to see… nothing?
Well ok, terrorists were active, hurricanes came and went, a volcano rumbled in Indonesia, and doubtless there were BC events at a local level that had significant impact on those concerned. But globally earth-shattering events? Astonishing industry breakthroughs in business continuity?
Put it this way, when you google “biggest world news 2017”, and an article on “Record for biggest kebab in the world set in Berlin” makes it onto the first page search results, you just know that 2017 was, well, one of the calmer in recent years.
Paradoxically, that may be one of the biggest challenges the business continuity community has faced for some time. When it looks like nothing is happening, and no threats are evident, business continuity resolve weakens. BC budgets get reallocated. BC practitioners become complacent.
People see calm sailing and even keels, the bugbears of salespeople who want to sell something and of business continuity managers who also want to “sell” the idea that business continuity planning and management is an essential part of any business that wants to keep working.
Compared with our review of events in 2016, and those in 2015, wasn’t there anything in 2017 that might, even by stretching the imagination perhaps, have interrupted business activity? Politically, the world looked reasonably stable, give or take some posturing by the US and North Korea.
Economically, things chugged along without problems (or without any new ones).
Socially, there was little in the way of change.
Technologically, processors got faster (as usual), automation and AI continued to make huge inroads, and self-driving, electric vehicles made a little more news. Legally, one or two large companies (including Amazon) were menaced with court proceedings because of alleged abuse of their dominant position in the market.
Ecologically, things got neither better nor worse.
Yep, that’s our PESTLE analysis done for 2017, and no quantum leaps to be seen there either.
Looking ahead to 2018, what is a business continuity manager to do after such a 2017? There are several cards he or she can and should play:
- Business continuity as insurance. There’s a reason, for example, why motor insurance is compulsory in many countries. It’s because accidents happen. So too do business interruptions.
- Black swan events. The Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010, the subprime lending crisis of 2008, or in a more positive sense the development of the internet from the early 1990s, all seriously disrupted business. Such black swan events are unpredictable, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to figure out what’s coming down the line.
- Healthy paranoia. Yes, business interruptions really are out to get you and your enterprise. “Only the paranoid survive”, wrote Intel’s Andy Grove. QED.
- Positive business impact. Business continuity done right can improve your business efficiency, productivity and profitability – see our earlier blog posts on the subject.
Finally, what can we wish you for the coming year? Nothing. No problems, no interruptions, no discontinuities.
Or, more realistically, an excellent, up to date, tested business continuity plan and strong business continuity management, with positive reinforcement and reminders that problems, according to Murphy’s Law, will always happen. Usually, right after you let your guard down.
So, Happy Holidays for the rest of 2017 and here’s to an uneventful (but well prepared for) 2018.