--> Gill Blog: Compliance or Strategy?

Gill Blog

Monday, November 24, 2003

Compliance or Strategy?

It’s encouraging to see how well public and private institutions have picked up on the importance of business continuity planning (BCP), even if originally forced into compliance through legislation. The scope of BCP is extending beyond the boundaries of IT into other areas including facility planning. However, as organizations try to strike a balance between thoroughness and efficiency, we wonder whether these efforts are being driven by a desire to manage risk strategically or simply to comply with new standards of organizational governance.

At a recent planning session, an institutional client engaged us to evaluate how well its facilities plan aligned with its business continuity strategy. A few things immediately struck me. From the outset the client stated they were not looking for a "Cadillac" solution, as they were bound by a strict budget. This is fairly common requirement, as many still consider BCP projects a "grudge spend" they're reluctant to make. No problem. We're used to working within budgets. The client presented us with what amounted to a one-dimensional wish list that requested facilities in pre-specified locations. Their first inclination was the task wasn’t overly complicated and in fact could be executed by a local commercial real estate broker whose database might provide a shortlist of potential locations.

However, we refined the process and initiated an interactive discussion involving participants from a few key nodes of influence that enabled the team to integrate essential elements that were missed during the first go-around. These included event probability, local geography, communications, construction standards and security, as well as disaster protocol. The most important element that was integrated into the plan was business operation and impact analysis.

Together with the client, we created a multi-dimensional strategy that exceeded the client's original expectations - all within budget and ahead of schedule. In this instance, a compliance-driven requirement was successfully replaced with a response that was strategic.


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