The BCI

The value of standards

News   •   Aug 07, 2015 15:18 BST

There have been many standards produced that support the work we do – ISO22301 on business continuity management, BS65000 on organizational resilience and ISO22317 on business impact analysis. But what are these standards for, what do they achieve and what value can we place on them?

BSI note, in their latest report, The economic contribution of standards to the UK economy, that "the development of standards is driven by a demand from industry" and "help to solve fundamental process, organisational and technical problems, which if left unresolved, could result in inefficient market functioning and poor economic outcomes." Or, to put it another way, they make our organizations more streamlined and therefore more efficient.

But can you actually put a value on this? Yes, according to the report which was based on independent research conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), whose analysis found a positive and significant contribution of standards to productivity – supporting 37.4% of annual labour productivity growth in the UK economy over the period 1921 to 2013, which translates into approximately 28.4% of annual GDP growth. To put an actual monetary figure on that, standardization at a national level would be associated with approximately £8.2 billion of the £29.0 billion of GDP growth recorded in 2013 (2014 prices).

That's quite an extraordinary finding, so if your business continuity management programme is not currently aligned to ISO22301 then you might want to consider doing so. And where better to start than reading through the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines that are fully aligned to the standard.

The report does note that standards do not boost productivity growth exclusively. Instead standards have a symbiotic and complementary role in driving productivity along with other factors such as improvements to education and advancements in technology. Standards support productivity growth through a variety of mechanisms such as by enhancing organisational efficiency, boosting trade and facilitating innovation.

The survey also highlighted the existing capacity of businesses to become more involved in the standards development process. Over two-thirds (68%) of businesses surveyed were not involved in the standards development process, yet the evidence showed that participating in developing standards makes it more likely that a company experiences benefits from using standards. Those who reported they are highly involved in the standards development process are the most likely to report that they experience a net benefit from standards.

Members of the BCI play an important role in standards development with several of them on the relevant committees. You don't need to be on a committee to play a role however, you can also get involved by providing feedback when standards are in development and 'out for comment'. If you would like to get involved with this, then keep an eye out on our website and social media channels or by subscribing to our newsletter.