​The cultural restraints on business continuity

Blog post   •   Oct 26, 2016 12:15 BST

Two years ago, I was asked to contribute to the ‘20 in their 20s’ publication by the BCI on the future of business continuity. In my article, I pointed out the need to learn from experience in order to achieve what I think is the mission of our industry: the ‘social continuity’. I also stated that the business continuity industry shall not repeat the mistakes of risk management, which was highly disregarded by the Boards of Directors of the most important companies all over the world until the most recent years, when the financial crisis hit the global markets.

I am now invited to write this blog as a follow-up to that initiative, with the aim of understanding if and how my view had changed since then. Honestly, I have to say I still think the greatest challenge for continuity and resilience professionals is to broaden the scope of action to include the social components in their considerations. Indeed, we all know that an organization is as vulnerable as the weakest link in its value chain, and we are also aware of the fact that each company operates in an interconnected environment. How can we claim to be resilient, if we do not care about the level of preparedness of our critical stakeholders?

In these two years, I have also understood that cultural restraints can represent a limit that needs to be overtaken if we want to reach our target. Therefore, I have decided to get more involved with the activities of the Business Continuity Institute, whose mission is to promote a more resilient world. Specifically, I have become an Approved BCI Instructor, a BCI Corporate Partner with my company (PANTA RAY) and I have joined the BCI Risk and Governance Committee. I strongly believe in the role of the Institute because, actually, there are countries where chasing the ‘social continuity’ purpose can be hard. That is why we need to work the system if we wish to change mindsets that had been instilled over hundreds of years.

It will be a long process and I can tell it is frustrating at the beginning. I am Italian and I have been involved in the launch of the BCI Italian Forum in the summer of 2014. A small group of people had to build a network from scratch and faced many challenges, but we worked hard and thanks to the support of Steve Mellish (BCI Chairman at that time) and Lorraine Darke we had a very first conference in November that same year with approximately 70 Italian professionals. It was an incredible success and we decided that we wanted to establish an annual meeting, so we had a similar event last year (2015) and doubled the audience.

In 2016, we started to hold monthly Forum meetings. As a consequence of our efforts, the numbers of CBCI training sessions and statutory members are increasing at a fast pace and our expectations on the next annual conference are definitely high. The BCI Italian Forum is now a very active LinkedIn group that counts over 350 continuity and resilience professionals!

We know it is going to be a long journey, but the results of our job are quite interesting so far. I would like to share our approach and discuss it with the community, as I am sure we would benefit from feedback and suggestions. And with a pinch of conceit, we might as well inspire the growth of the Institute in other areas. After all, we all share the same mission.

Alberto Mattia is the Managing Director of PANTA RAY, the leading business continuity consulting company in Italy. He graduated in Economics and Finance at the Università Bocconi in Milan, his hometown, with a final paper on Crisis Management in the banking sector. Alberto has been a speaker at several important conferences on resilience and has written articles that have been published in Italy and abroad.