Business Continuity Planning Outside the Box

Necessity as they say is the mother of invention. Business continuity planning sometimes needs some outside-the-box invention, especially in the case where a major functional component of an organisation becomes unavailable. This has been the case for a museum (Le Museon Arlaten) in the south of France, founded in 1899 with the mission of conserving records about the area known as “Provence”. An important part of the museum’s activities is also to organise concerts and shows that bring out traditional Provence performing arts using the large stock of artefacts and architectural remains in the museum’s possession. The BC planning challenge was simple – continuing to draw and satisfy a public for the next three years, during which time there will be no museum…

From 2012 to 2015, the museum will be completely refurbished. This business continuity planning situation is similar to that of other organisations that depend on a major and often unique part of its infrastructure for its daily operations. Other public attractions or venues like theatres, cinemas or sports clubs with their stadiums are also sometimes forced to think literally out of the box, if their place of business becomes unavailable. Manufacturing organisations may sometimes be able to build several production sites and balance the overall load between them. However, entities like museums and football clubs are unlikely to want or be able to duplicate facilities.

The solution for the museum has been to go mobile. The organisers of the different shows and concerts cannot simply uproot “in situ” roman remains, so what they do is to adapt their offering to the different environments as they travel through the region. In a sense, towns, villages, even cemeteries, become the temporary backdrops for the museum staff to capture attention and captivate their audiences. While business continuity planning has already delivered a precise “road show” agenda of places and dates for the museum’s activities, an unexpected benefit has been the experimentation now possible with the variety of different contexts. The “ Museon Arlaten” is therefore likely to be refreshed in mind as well as in body by the time it opens its doors again in 2015.