Actualizing Business as Usual Strategies for Mission Critical Organizations and Functions
What are BAU or Business As Usual Strategies and how do they Work?
Business as Usual or BAU strategies and action plans are meant to keep vital organizational functions and processes up and running even in times of extreme events that disrupt the other functions.
This is especially the case when such functions and processes are mission critical meaning that without them, the organizations would not be able to fulfill their mandate. Indeed, whichever sector one looks at, whether it is businesses in the private sector, institutions in the governmental sector, or even individuals and startups as well as SMEs or Small and Medium Enterprises, they all need a viable and workable BAU plan in case things beyond their control such as external extreme events and even, within their control go down due to intentional or unintentional acts.
For example, BPOs or Business Processing Organizations need to keep their Customer Service lines and the Financial Processing Units running even when extreme events such as Earthquakes, Floods, Terrorist Attacks, or Civil Disturbances take place.
Similarly, the governmental departments tasked with maintaining public law and order, public utilities, and the administration (whether civic or regional) all have to have a BAU plan in case there are disruptions to the normal way of life.
When Should a BAU Plan be activated?
Typically, a BAU plan would have to be activated immediately in case of such extreme events and in this context, it is worth noting that the fallback plans and options to continue business operations have to be actualized within an hour or so of the first intimation of the extreme event.
While some firms and governmental agencies can take up to a day or less to activate such plans, the key decision makers are vested with the authority to activate such plans as and when reliable and accurate information is available with them. Indeed, the key phrases here are reliable and accurate information since in these days of Fake News and Post Truth, more often than not, some of the news about extreme events are often found to be false or at best misleading after some time.
This is the reason why many leading firms subscribe to Global Security and Consulting Firms who often send out Security Alerts and timely and Relevant Information about Extreme Events to their clients. Even individuals would be well advised to take help of credible firms to alert them of impending and happening extreme events in real time so as to have relevant information with them.
Need for Accurate and Reliable Information
The reason we are stressing on the need to have accurate and timely information is that corporates worldwide now operate in environments where news travels at the speed of light thanks to the multiple channels of news media including the web, mobile, television, and the very real aspect of WhatsApp groups and Facebook and Twitter updates.
Indeed, the proliferation and profusion of such sources of information mean that corporates have to access to the actual ground realities instead of relying on untrustworthy sources of information.
This is where the Risk Mitigation Department and the Risk Management Units of corporates come into play as all of them usually have their own methods of assessing and reacting to such extreme events.
Indeed, in times when even governments often fail to assess the situations arising out of extreme events, some corporations with the necessary resources seem to be abreast of the fallout from extreme events more than the former.
While the debate about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is out of the scope of the present article, what we wish to emphasize is that it is better for any entity, private or public to have good risk assessment and mitigation strategies in place.
Examples of How Corporates Fail to Assess and Prevent Extreme Events
Having said that, it is also the case that despite having all the resources at their disposal, some corporates are found wanting when extreme events happen. For instance, the recent shooting at the YouTube office in the Bay Area of the Silicon Valley is proof of the fact that early warnings were ignored and potential signs of such an event were not taken seriously.
Thus, the fact remains that the Risk and Corporate Security Functions need to get their act together and ensure that they are on top of things to both prevent and respond to extreme events.
This is where some leading corporates insist on BAU plans that are activated in real time as they feel that any time spent in risk assessment as the extreme event is unfolding would only lead to the impact from such events becoming more intense.
Hence, it is our view that key personnel in the organizations be entrusted with the responsibility to activate BAU plans based on the available information. Further, there must be backup personnel for such decision makers as well to ensure that disruptions are minimized.
Lastly, in the present times, the impact of any events, minor or extreme, is usually amplified by the media and the very human responses of the stakeholders to jump to conclusions and rush to judgments about the events.
Thus, sometimes, even minor events can seem to be extreme and this is the reason we want to emphasize the fact that it is better for the decision makers to be stable and not panic when the BAU plans are activated.
To conclude, while the risk of extreme events is always a possibility, more often than not, it is the way in which we respond that can make the difference to the actual impact.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
The article is Written By Prachi Juneja and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.