Bulletin / Business vs Business...

Business vs Business Continuity – who wins?

Author: Charlie Maclean-Bristol

This week Charlie talks about the relationship between business and business continuity.

The announcement this week, of a tax on sugary drinks seems to have caught the soft drinks manufacturers off guard. It has had an immediate effect on most of their share prices, with shares in AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru, down 6% since Osborne spoke to parliament. Nichols’ shares are down 7.5% while shares in Britvic, who manufacture and distribute Pepsi in the UK, are down 3.3%. There seems to be a furious backlash from the soft drink manufacturers as they were obviously not prepared for this and investors fear that sales will suffer. 

My question for you all this week is how much should the business continuity manager be involved in anticipating business risks, as opposed to business continuity risks, and where is the boundary between the two?

I have always said in this blog that one of the roles of the business continuity manager is to horizon scan for new and emerging threats. There has been a campaign led by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to have a tax on sugary drinks similar to the tax that the Mexican Government introduced a couple of years ago. As with many of the threats that emerge, this threat could have been identified in advance. 

Is it our job as business continuity managers to identify these business threats or is the role of the risk manager? Should we stick to the risks that could disrupt the business rather than those that could fundamentally affect the business model? Where is the line between the two?

In another example, a client who has robust resilience in having their operations spread across 5 warehouses, are just starting to go down the line of consolidating all operations in one location in one large warehouse. Consolidating all operations together makes good business sense, better cooperation and reduction in costs but makes the organisation now have a single point of failure. This has been pointed out as a risk but the business reasons trump the business continuity risk.

Business continuity managers are usually middle management and so don’t normally have influence at board level although they may be consulted on major decisions which affect the continuity of the organisation. Sometime their influence is about personality and if the CEO likes them and takes them seriously.

So my question for readers is, should the business continuity manager be identifying ‘business’ risks and should they be consulted on business decisions?

This blog is dedicated to Dan and Kim who gave me the idea of what to write this week!

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