This report examines the importance of business continuity planning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, it provides a robust framework to design, implement, and evaluate a firm’s BCP strategy. The report also provides quick tips on how businesses of all sizes can best navigate these trying times.
We estimate global Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) to contract by -4% from 2020-21 (~USD 3.5 trillion), with a bull-case scenario of -1% (~USD 870 billion) and a bear-case scenario of -7% (USD 6.1 trillion)
From travel bans to citywide lockdowns and business / service suspensions, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on companies, especially those in aviation, hospitality (particularly food and beverage), tourism, and the broader consumer retail market
Hence, the pandemic has seen many companies come to the harsh realisation that their existing BCPs are far from adequate and in some cases, non-existent
A BCP is a plan that outlines the procedures and systems to be put in place by an organisation to prevent – and ultimately recover from – potential threats to the business
A good BCP strategy requires: (1) solid design; (2) meticulous implementation (including testing and communication); (3) regular evaluation; (4) should be developed and overseen by a team that represents key functional areas of the company; and (5) have support from the organisational culture
A best practice BCP design should include: (1) threat identification; (2) risk assessment; (3) business impact analysis; and (4) risk procedures
When implementing BCP, firms should start with desk-top walkthroughs where key functional team members look for gaps in the plan and consider “what-if” scenarios, this may include the use of: (1) communication protocols testing (e.g. annual fire drills and call trees) and (2) disaster simulation testing
Evaluation-wise, BCP should be tested under realistic conditions and reviewed on a regular basis, at least annually, and a robust documentation process must be put in place to make sure any future adaptations to protocols can be anchored to a relevant historical reference point
In order for governance and oversight to be effective, organisations must develop reporting frameworks / tools that can be readily digested by senior management, with adequate key performance indicators (“KPIs”) and data visualisation in place
From a cultural perspective, three key pillars required to deliver an effective BCP: (i) devolvement of power; (ii) taking ownership; and (iii) velocity of response
In the short-run however, in light of the ongoing pandemic, there are four core priorities which organisations should look to focus on: (1) mitigating infection risks; (2) controlling costs; (3) protecting revenues (i.e. insulating existing income streams or finding new leads) ; and (4) maintaining workplace productivity / staff morale
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