Over 50 delegates attended a special business breakfast organised by Key Group at The Palace hotel, Sliema, last week. The event was held to highlight the importance of business continuity management (BCM) as well as to introduce the group’s new structure and branding.

The sessions shed light on why Maltese businesses should incorporate BCM – a practice through which companies can make provisions for potential threats that could severely impact their success or, at worst, force them to shut down – into their corporate planning.

“The ‘it-won’t-happen-to-me’ approach just doesn’t cut it these days,” said Bob Clarke, Key’s recently appointed BCM specialist. “This is not just an IT issue but a business one. There needs to be a holistic management approach that provides a framework for building organisational resilience.”

Key Group utilised the business breakfast to highlight case studies of when and how BCM has been put into practice to protect global brands in a time of crisis. These included the discovery of benzene in Perrier Water, BP’s involvement in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol drug contamination scandal.

“These cases prove that BCM isn’t just about technology,” continued Clarke, who has a Master’s degree in the subject.

“Embedding BCM in your organisation’s structure starts when you truly understand that organisation well enoughto determine a Plan B strategy that will work. It’s then vital to develop what yourresponse would be and to determine how to implement it, before regularly exercising and reviewing the situation to ensure best practices are in place.”

Throughout the session, Clarke explained the crucial benefits of BCM and encouraged participants not to find excuses as to why they didn’t need to put a plan in place. “No, you are not too big to fail and, yes, it could happen to you,” he said. “Some of the biggest companies in the world have failed, and often this could have been avoided through the use of BMC planning.”

While locals often take the attitude that nothing serious ever happens here in Malta, Clarke gave real examples of potential threats, including natural disasters like floods, technology and hardware failures, cyber crimes, human errors, thefts, vandalism and industrial disputes.

“Therefore, the way forward is that BCM should be owned at board level and must be completely integrated into anorganisation as an embedded management process. Organisations should also align themselves to international standards and adopt good practice guidelines. When it comes to protecting your future, it really does pay to be prepared,”he added.

As specialists in BCM, Key Group is currently offering five-day training courses in conjunction with the BCI and based on good practice guidelines.

Courses can be tailored to meet particular requirements and consultancy-based services are also available.

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