Building In Business Continuity from the Beginning

The bolt-on approach has been tried in many contexts and discarded after problems of compatibility, quality and efficiency. In product marketing and development, functions are now designed in from the start. In organisational supply chains, the pressure is on to have features that make handling and distribution easier as part of the initial product design specifications. So then why not do the same for business continuity? All the same arguments apply in favour of thinking about BC as initial and continuing part of the lifecycles for product and process development in an organisation.

When business continuity is only considered after the fact, it may be relegated to simply monitoring how well a company is doing, instead of helping it to improve. To take another example, energy efficiency in building design is up against the same problem. Trying to improve energy efficiency after the builders have left is often much less effective than specifying energy efficient materials and procedures before the concrete for the foundations has been poured.

In many cases, getting business continuity designed into the business itself will mean playing catch-up. It will also necessitate relevant upper management support to ensure that different departments and teams have BC on their agenda as a priority. This was how quality and TQC (Total Quality Control), arrived in enterprises; but only after the voices of quality gurus like W. Edwards Deming were finally heard in the western world (the Japanese recognised the importance of his ideas years before). Hopefully, business continuity will benefit from a little more advance planning. However, business continuity practitioners will undoubtedly need to help organisations to see the light by campaigning and lobbying inside them just as their colleagues in quality already did.

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