Business continuity does not operate in a vacuum. Far from it, BC must interwork with the trends and developments in organisations, in particular in their IT operations. Whether from a standpoint of people, business objectives or technology, business continuity managers must remain in tune with the undercurrents of change at work in their enterprises. Often these are interlinked. To meet goals, departments acquire new IT technology independently of the established IT department, which leads to changes in business continuity roles and responsibilities. Examples are sales forces increasingly equipped with mobile solutions, and marketing teams building their own systems to manage market and customer information.
While the principles of business continuity hold good, their application is being modified. Enterprises are increasingly aware of the possibilities to look beyond the internal IT organisation and partner with external providers for data processing, storage and application development. They are becoming more realistic about offshore projects: high quality services are available, but now longer at the bargain prices touted some time ago. On the other hand, third parties can often accelerate company IT developments dramatically. Timeframes become weeks instead of years, with all the advantages and challenges that such rapidity brings.
Where else should you be looking to stay in touch with enterprise IT trends and their impact on business continuity? Surprisingly perhaps, the consumer IT world is a good place for information. Much of what is being offered to the public now finds its way afterwards into working organisations: smartphones, tablets, mobile applications and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) computing are all examples. While specialised technologies for large scale data storage and high-end processing are likely to remain within a business context, end-user IT increasingly draws on any useful source available. Keeping an open mind and an active interest in these different influences is all part of a business continuity manager’s job.