What is Business Continuity?
A Business Continuity Plan ensures that an organization will resume partially or completely interrupted critical function(s) within a predetermined time after a disaster or disruption.
How critical is a Business Continuity Plan?
Perhaps this example from the Oct 27th 2005 Economist article titled, “When lightning strikes – How to maintain business as usual in unusual times?” explains things best.
“The effect on Ericsson, a Swedish mobile-phone company, of a fire in a New Mexico chipmaking plant belonging to the Dutch firm Philips, has become a legend. The fire, in March 2000, started by a bolt of lightning, lasted less than 10 minutes, but it caused havoc to the super-clean environment that chipmaking requires. Ericsson, unable to find an alternative source of supply, went on to report a loss of over $2 billion in its mobile-phone division that year, a loss that left it as an also-ran in an industry where it had once been a leader…”
The lesson was not lost on other firms with far-flung global supply chains.
India & Business Continuity
India is no stranger to political violence or natural disasters. Unrest with Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir province has endured for decades and the annual monsoon season puts big cities like Mumbai and Bangalore at risk.
Mumbai has over 35 leading call centers — multinationals such as Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche bank, Prudential, Convergys, IBM-Daksh, Hutch BPO 3, and Indian BPO firms like TransWorks, Intelenet, Mphasis (now acquired by EDS), ICICI OneSource, Wipro, WNS and eFunds. Customers of these giants said the response to the Mumbai attack was encouraging.
To mitigate these risks, all of the companies have detailed business continuity plans in place to handle most kinds of exigencies. This was evident in the latest Mumbai Bomb blasts. The Indian Financial capital showed extreme resilience after the blasts when trains were running on time in less than 24hrs. Clients were contacted globally immediately after the incident to arrest fears and contingency plans were activated seamlessly.