Oz’s Business Continuity Tip of the Month : “How normal is normal?”

When putting together our business continuity strategies and plans, a common assumption is that the ultimate objective is to return to normal following a major disruption. But what do we mean by ‘normal’? More often than not, we mean recreating the status quo.

But some disruptive incidents are so significant that returning to normal may not be feasible or even desirable. Moreover, the disruption or ‘disaster’ may even provide an opportunity to do things differently.

For instance, we might choose to :

  • Relocate a facility rather than rebuild it in its current location;
  • Outsource an activity that’s currently done in-house;
  • Re-engineer processes that are less efficient than they could be;
  • Discontinue a less profitable product or service.

The point is that, if we’re not careful, we can waste an inordinate amount of time and effort planning for something that wouldn’t actually happen in reality.

So rather than just taking the path of least resistance and assuming the objective is to get ‘back to normal’, perhaps we should consider what a ‘new normality’ might look like.

Clearly this will be up to the strategic decision makers, so it’s a good idea to talk to them and get their take on things. There is, of course, a possibility that they might not want you to know what they’re thinking, or at least not make it common knowledge. In which case, you might just have to resign yourself to some time-wasting.

 

Related articles : ‘A business discontinuity plan‘; ‘The outer limits

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