Are You ‘Done’ with Business Continuity?

endI attended DRJ in September 2007 and had one of those thought-provoking conversations with a conference attendee that stopped by the Avalution vendor exhibit on Sunday night.  Actually, she was the first person to stop during the conference.

Having not heard of Avalution before, she naturally asked what we did.  I informed her that we are a professional services firm that assists organizations with crisis management, business continuity and IT disaster recovery program development and enhancement.

Almost immediately, she interrupted me.

“We’re already there.” I thought I misunderstood her, because the exhibit hall was so loud.  But she said the same thing, “we’re already there.”

I looked at her for a few seconds, and told her I had never heard anyone say that before.

Having worked with dozens of companies as a practitioner and a consultant, I have never seen or been part of an organization that felt supremely confident that they had mitigated availability risk (business and technology) completely.

Although I wouldn’t consider my self an argumentative person, I had a vision of a interesting debate and attempted to engage her.

“When you say ‘you’re already there’, are you saying that because I am a consultant and you don’t envision a need for consultative assistance, or do you truly mean your program is perfect?”, I asked.

“Oh no, I’m not trying to brush you off, I just think we’re about done,” she answered.

That ended the conversation because I was both surprised with her answer, and the confidence in her answer led me to believe I couldn’t sway her from the position that she viewed business continuity has a definitive “end”.  I was even more surprised to see her exhibitor badge had the “CBCP” acronym displayed.

I reflected on this very brief conversation, and I hope that she has not communicated this view to her executive management team.  In my opinion, business continuity, and risk management in general, never ends.  Instead, it grows and matures with the organization, and the challenge of reflecting the changing needs of the business and creating awareness amongst all stakeholders never diminishes.