Business resilience planning can be the difference between success and failure. Undoubtedly, resilience plays a key role in an organisation’s survival, but how resilient is the UK? And are we able to compete with our neighbouring countries?
The most obvious worry for UK resilience is what many see as an over-reliance on London. The capital serves as the UK’s networking hub; all domestic and international carriers have a substantial presence in the city.
Clearly, the reliance on London to play such a pivotal role in providing communication means that any localised disruption such as flooding, power cuts or terrorist attacks, etc, could have a substantial impact on the UK’s ability to operate amongst businesses.
Furthermore, weather events continue to be a perennial issue for the UK. The UK’s persistent inability to deal with adverse weather conditions mean that our dependence on road transport for logistics and distribution create potentially major problems for supply chains.
The failing confidence in the UK economy has also meant that UK organisations risk losing previous levels of resilience, with businesses keen to cut costs as well as consolidate assets and supply chains. Coupled with a reluctance to invest in new technologies, the UK could be putting itself at greater risk from damaging its reputation as an international gateway for business across Europe.
The news is not all doom and gloom for UK resilience however- far from it. Firstly, the UK has good reason to be reliant on London. With easy access to multiple data and power backup sites, London is one of the most resilient cities in the world, as regards its ICT.
Moreover, UK businesses are ahead of most countries in terms of business continuity and disaster recovery planning. The codification of business continuity in standards and the statutory nature of Emergency Planning have both helped push the resilience agenda.
Additionally, the increased adoption of cloud computing has meant that a company’s mission critical data can now be resilient to all but the most catastrophic disruptions – and resilience is key to having information available to employees, partners and customers to ensure organisations can continue to operate in even the harshest conditions.
In terms of Europe as a whole, no country stands out as a leader in all areas of resilience with most having some room for improvement. A lot of recent research has shown that business continuity and disaster recovery plans are simply not up to scratch. A survey conducted by Sourceforconsulting found that nearly three quarters of C-level executives see the need for significant improvement in their BC plans, with 68% stating they need to invest more money in making their businesses resilient.
Clearly there is still a lot of work to do in raising awareness of the need for businesses to invest in a formal plan of resilience. Each country should seek to work together to develop and learn from best practice examples from across the continent.
For the UK, 2012 will undoubtedly be a trying year. Events such as the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee will stretch resources and without substantial continuity planning many organisations will be unable to deal with the inevitable unforeseen disruptions.
Collaboration between countries should be bought to the fore so we can learn from the practices other countries have gone through to set a framework for excellence in business resilience. It’s essential that UK businesses, particularly those in London and the UK’s other major business conurbations are adequately prepared and continue to make a valuable contribution to the formation of resilience best practice.