Business Continuity Management: The Ideal topic for Business Simulation

I have invited leading Business Continuity Management (BCM) expert Pierre Wettergren to write a short guest blog on to introduce this increasingly critical topic. Over the last 6 months Pierre and I have been collaborating on the design of a customisable BCM Simulation Game for Teams, which we call BCM eMATCH which allows them to run a virtual business and "what-if" the impact of different BCM strategies in response to changes and shocks their market conditions and internal operations.

Business Continuity Management

Business Continuity Management lets you stand out in a complex world

Most Business Leaders seriously doubt their ability to cope with rapidly escalating complexity. Yet one set of organisations has consistently performed well. How do these "Standouts" mitigate complexity and even convert it into opportunity?

A drastically different world

Increasingly interconnected economies, enterprises, societies and governments have given rise to vast new opportunities. But how to leaders prepare for today's more complex environment? Increased connectivity has created strong and too often unknown interdependencies. For this reason, the ultimate consequence of any decision can often be poorly understood. Given the economic environment, its increase in volatility, in uncertainty, in complexity, an increase of disruptive business is a fact.

Still, decisions must be made.

What can then a management system that secures the continuity of business critical functions and services bring to the table? Well, BCM is still a "new kid on the block" despite its evolution from the seventies and it's still seen as a cost you pay to sleep better at night. This is however huge waste of opportunities and a departure from the intentions with the ISO 22301:2012 Business Continuity Management System standard. As a leader you should recognize that capitalizing on complexity is one of your biggest challenges and opportunities. Complexity is expected to rise but what about your resilience?

Manage complexity through flexible and agile resilience

Leaders know that creativity is the most important leadership quality. "Standouts" practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organizations. Creative leaders expect to make business model changes to realize their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas and keep innovating in how they run and develop their business. The most successful organizations co-create products and services with customers, and integrate customers into core processes. But, this again increases complexity and uncertainty.

How do you then bring your organization to such creative state? To a new way of working? To an optimal capability to deliver over and over again?

This is where a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) makes a difference. However, HOW you implement the BCMS dictates if you will "Standout" or just sleep well at night.

This is what I have done for a living during the last 15 years and since 2007 also have been engaged with ISO to develop standards in this area. Did you know that a BCM system allows you to surface your vulnerabilities and manage them as with any other business case? Identified improvements and investments made are thus channeled towards the more critical resources and implicitly you will understand which resources are less important.

Over time this management will shape your organization, i.e. strengthen your muscles (critical resources) and reduce the fat (non-critical resources), to be fit for purpose. Think of your organisation as a body with capabilities and having resources distributed according to the purpose of the business. Then your organizational BMI will over time become optimal and you will have a resource distribution and capabilities that are fit for purpose.

Requisite Complexity is the key

What will it mean for your business to neither be fat nor be anorexic? Just being optimal? Always! Excessive complexity is a formidable source of fragility, vulnerability and exposure. Business resilience is a prerequisite to survival in a quickly changing and turbulent economy.

The effects of rising complexity calls for business leaders and their teams to lead with bold creativity, connect with customers in imaginative ways and design their operations for speed and flexibility to position their organizations for twenty-first century success.

There are no shortcuts but there are proven journeys to take. Before starting to implement a BCMS it's good to simulate the current situation and test the business strategies against the existing resilience so that a collective understanding of the gaps exists within the management team.

Pierre Wettergren Biography

On September 19th, 2013 the Swedish security industry awarded Pierre the "Security Consultant of the Year". This was partly due to his expertise in BCM but also his collaborative way of working that could change the consultancy industry. On November 6th, 2013 Pierre was also a nomination candidate to the BCI Global Awards as "BCM Consultant of the Year".

To find out more about Pierre
For a free BCMS Self Assessment
For a BCM eMATCH factsheet

About Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson delivers keynote conference speeches, workshop facilitation and in-house consultancy in four key business areas:

  1. Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams (based on the Bioteams Book)
  2. Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks enabling companies to co-operate effectively in areas such as sales and product development (based on the book - The Networked Enterprise)
  3. How to use the latest social media technologies including blogging and online communities to promote enterprises, brand, organisation or event
  4. Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Games, Dashboards and What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.

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Keep us updated on the development of the game. We are keen to see how other approach the business simulation games. :-)


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