Oz's Business Continuity Blog 

Viva Las Vegas, part 4

Despite waking again at three in the morning due to my body clock still being up the Swanny, day two of the conference went fine. The presentations were interesting and informative and I only suffered a couple of relatively minor glitches.

The first was an e-mail in the morning telling me that a dinner that evening, which I’d previously been invited to by another of the conference attendees, had been cancelled. This was a tad disappointing, as I’d been told that the restaurant I was supposed to be going to was one of the best on the Strip.  Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.

The second could have been quite serious but, thankfully, wasn’t. I was a bit peckish so I bought a coffee and cake between sessions, quickly scoffed the cake, took a couple of sips of coffee then set out for the next presentation. On the way I somehow managed to fling my coffee cup to the floor in front of me, where it rather impressively exploded, spraying coffee over a fairly sizeable area. Fortunately there was no-one in range, otherwise I may have been facing a lawsuit. Although, to be fair, the coffee wasn’t actually hot enough to scald anyone, despite what it said on the lid.

I’d been asked to participate in some filmed discussions with a couple of senior IBM resilience people on day three, which I happily agreed to. It was the least I could do after the hospitality shown to me. So I went to a briefing in the morning with the producers. They told me it was to be a couple of informal discussions, one with each of the IBM people, with no scripts or pre-prepared questions or answers, so as not to come across as stilted and unnatural. In fact, the last thing they wanted was a question and answer session or anything even remotely like an interview. Fair enough. They confirmed the timings – which were different to the ones I’d previously been given, which were themselves different to the original ones, but that’s ok, I can do flexible – and the running order. No problem.

A couple of hours later I had a pre-filming meeting with the people I’d be chatting with. I explained the format as it had been explained to me. They disagreed with this approach, deciding instead that we should prepare a bunch of questions to ensure we covered everything they wanted to include. So we hastily came up with a list of questions for each discussion and adjourned until the allotted time.

I turned up suited and booted and ready to go, and was duly miked up. Having boned up on my questions for the first session, I was feeling reasonably relaxed. Then they told me, just a couple of minutes before we were due to start, that they’d reversed the running order and we were now filming the second session first. Excellent. So I had a swift butchers at my other list and basically winged it.

I think they went ok, but I couldn’t help feeling that the supposedly informal chats will look quite a lot like question and answer sessions, if not interviews, with me playing the part of the interviewer. But ho hum, it was their gig, not mine so, at the end of the day, I was happy to go with the flow. It remains to be seen what the end result will look like, once the thirty minutes of each ‘chat’ have been edited down to two or three minutes, which I’m told is the plan.

A couple of things spring to mind from a business continuity point of view…

1. Plans are all well and good. But no matter how much planning and preparation we do, when we put them into operation something is almost certain to come along that scuppers even the best laid plans. So we need to build in the flexibility to change our plans on the fly, in order to react to unforeseen circumstances.

2. Sometimes, in the midst of an incident, different, and sometimes conflicting, agendas pop up, which we need to deal with. So it’s important that, as part of our crisis or incident management planning, we think about our various stakeholders and their specific interests, objectives and priorities. And, importantly, we need to ensure we have the right people in our crisis or incident management teams, who are able to resolve those conflicts and make the necessary decisions.

I’ll close by saying a big thank you to IBM for their generosity and hospitality. I’ve had a really interesting and enjoyable few days, during which I’ve learnt a lot. And you never know, I might even have socially influenced someone!



Agree? Disagree? Want to share your own thoughts or opinions?

Leave a reply (below) and let me know what you think.


Andy Osborne (known as Oz to friends and colleagues) is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, a consultancy practice specialising in business continuity and risk management.

Andy is the author of the books ‘Practical Business Continuity Management, ‘Risk Management Simplified‘ and ‘Ski Boots and Celery – A Compilation of Oz’s Business Continuity Blogs, as well as his popular blogs and ‘Tips of the Month, all of which aim to demystify the subjects of business continuity and risk management and make them more accessible to people who live in the real world.

You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyatAcumen and link with him on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andyosborneatacumen



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