Tracey Linnell, PricewaterhouseCoopersTracey Linnell, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Is your business equipped to deal with any eventuality the world of business, the economy or ‘mother nature’ may throw at it? Have you, as a business owner, or executive, even considered this question?

ITWeb’s Business Continuity Conference 2012 attempted to unlock some of the secrets to business continuity, how it should be implemented, and its value to an organisation.

The importance of business continuity to any organisation was emphasised by all the speakers throughout the event. Gaining executive buy-in and the difficulty in achieving this in order to put business continuity programmes in place was also stressed.

, a senior manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Advisory Services, highlighted some of the issues faced when the topic of business continuity was raised. She gave examples of two common responses business continuity practitioners are often faced with when presenting business continuity plans to executives.

The first is “I have more important issues that I need to deal with, can we reschedule?”; the second response is “but it will never happen, so this is just a waste of my time”.The stark reality is that it can happen, and when it does, an organisation needs to be prepared. ’s Charlie Brits illuminated this fact in her address about the dos and don’ts of disaster communications.

The disaster in question that Brits was referring to was ’s Yeoville Exchange Disaster of 2010. Brits discussed the communications and recovery strategies put in place to deal with the disaster and its importance in mitigating the impact of the event.

How an organisation deals with a crisis will affect it negatively or positively going forward, and an organisation which deals with a crisis poorly may never recover from it. Communication is important, and the organisation must appear transparent when making public statements regarding the crisis, Brits said.

Clifford Ferguson, director of Strategy and Policy at the Government Pensions Administration Agency, highlighted four key components to embedding business continuity management in an organisation’s culture.

The first of these is to understand an organisation, as only once an organisation is fully understood can business continuity management be implemented.

Next, a business continuity management strategy needs to be determined. A business continuity management response then needs to be developed and implemented; and finally, the programme needs to be exercised, maintained and reviewed.

The message that came across from all the speakers was that business continuity management is no longer an option for an organisation; it is an essential component of an organisation.

Going forward, its importance will be recognised, and the all-important executive buy-in will be easier to achieve.


Companies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are buying into business continuity management (BCM), according to , a representative of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI).

Louise Theunissen, Business Continuity InstituteLouise Theunissen, Business Continuity Institute

Presenting the results of a survey the BCI conducted into BCM trends in the SADC region, Theunissen said full executive buy-in for BCM from companies in the SADC region had reached 69.8%.

Overall, the need for and the utilisation of BCM in the region have increased, according to the survey. Of the companies surveyed, 76.5% implemented BCM strategies in all phases of their business and 39.2% tested their business continuity plans annually.

There has also been increased awareness of BCM strategies, with 54.9% of companies surveyed reporting awareness at all levels of their organisations.

Naturally, there are challenges facing the adoption of BCM programmes. The survey notes that in 2012, the number one challenge to BCM was gaining buy-in. Resources was the second-biggest challenge.