The Necessity of Backup Sites for BPO Companies

In previous modules on continuity of business, we had discussed how companies need to be prepared for any eventuality - natural or manmade. The discussion was on how fast alternative sites for backup and recovery are made functional in the aftermath of disasters. This article looks at the BPO sector in specific and the necessity of having backup sites to continue operations. Take for instance, the massive grid failure in India that happened this week. The operations of several BPO firms in the country were affected but only to a certain extent as they could shift their work to backup locations.

Further, there have been other disasters like floods and earthquakes that have rocked India and other Asian countries from time to time. When these calamities happen, the BPO sector which operates on a 24/7 basis has to quickly get back on its feet and ensure that its operations suffer minimal impact. And this is where COB or Continuity of Business Planning comes to the fore.

The BPO sector in Asia has backup sites in other states in the countries and the ability to become fully operational within hours of the outage often determines the extent to which the company has operationalised its backup strategy. Disasters happen anywhere in the world and the BPO sector has to be prepared for any eventuality. This means that its risk management plan must take into account the fact that it might have to fly personnel to the backup location in case of emergency. Or, it might have to contend with loss of operational time in its main location and be prepared by shifting operations to another location. The time taken for recovery determines the success of the company’s backup and recovery strategy.

Further, the BPO sector unlike the IT sector, services the back office operations for Western Customers that includes call center operations and supporting mission critical systems. Hence, it is absolutely imperative that the BPO sector has robust backup plans in place. Though the extent to which disasters can cripple the infrastructure cannot be estimated with 100% accuracy, being prepared for disasters certainly can be done. This is the essence of COB which takes on an urgent aspect where the BPO sector is concerned. Considering the regularity with which disasters have been happening in Asia starting with the Japan Earthquake and this week’s power outage in India, it is time for the BPO sector to be prepared instead of just throwing up their hands and being helpless when disasters strike.

Finally, though not all operations can be immediately restored in case of an emergency, the BPO sector ought to recover the critical ones at the minimum. And this is where the vision of its leaders as well as the thoroughness of its staff comes into the picture. The final aspect is the human dimension which means that the employees ought not to panic and instead be professional about recovery and working from backup sites which would go a long way in ensuring that business is not affected and clients are not lost.


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