Disasters, Disasters, Disasters

Year 2011 came in with some notable natural and man-made calamities. The New Zealand earthquake, the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the Turkish earthquake, the Japan Nuclear Plant leaks, and so much more. Recently the Philippines was hit by a devastating flood which left thousands of people dead. Two years ago, a typhoon leashed at the nation’s capital, dumping out rains that were normally dumped for a month. Although casualties are not that high as compared to the casualties that were bought by the recent flash flood. 

One thing goes to mind. How will businesses continue in case of such calamities? How can consumers recover quickly? Remember, in calamities, the fastest way to recover is:

(a) immediate restoration of power

(b) immediate restoration of communication facilities

(c) immediate restoration of financial services

(d) immediate restoration of physical infrastructure like roads and bridges

(e) immediate delivery of supplies and services to the users

The answer to all of these is for all businesses to think of and develop their own contingency plans and business recovery plans. And in no such case that a contingency plan or a business recovery plan will work if it is not reviewed, tested and implemented properly. Contingency plans and business recovery plans are not limited to IT alone. It includes all parts of the enterprise resource activities, including supply chain management processes. It is not limited to hardware, networks, software or databases, it includes manual processes to enable employees of affected businesses to continue with their supposed to be tasks if the business is affected by such calamities. It may include handling of work, even of outside of the company’s premises, transfer of an IT system to other locations, handling of financials, alternative source and target channels and the like.  

I have read the other day that a Philippine senator filed a bill mandating businesses to have their own business and contingency plans. We think its a good idea. A calamity should not stop commerce and businesses and at the same time, a calamity should not stop consumers and customers from getting the kind of service they want.

It would be a pity for a business if they stop operating if they are affected by these calamities. It would mean loss of income, revenue and reputation.  There should always be a Plan B, a Plan C or even a Plan D, if these happens. 

The next question is: Are you ready?