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Highlights of the BCM Executive Forum, 22-23 June in Brussels

BEF 2011June’s BCM Executive Forum in Brussels featured an impressive A-List of business continuity academics and practitioners. 

Initiated by the BCI Partnership, this new annual event aimed to provide experienced in-house practitioners with an opportunity to not only engage with thought leaders but explore, in detail, topics of interest and relevance to them through formal tutorial sessions and informal discussions with their peers.

The first session opened with a provocative presentation from Professor Edward Borodzicz, from Portsmouth University Business School, who felt that standards were not necessarily the right place to find good BCM practice as compliance standards were based on bad companies. He also felt that crisis management was distinctive from business continuity management and that if BCMers wanted to engage the board then they needed to talk crisis management and resilience.

Lyndon Bird FBCI, Technical Director at the BCI, provided an oversight of the disconnect that can occur between what BCM practitioners think the board is interested in and what the board is actually interested in.  Based on results from a joint study with Deloitte, he expanded on methods and techniques to help BCM practitioners make their programmes more relevant to senior executives.

Emanuela Bellan, Head of Crisis Management at the European Commission, initiated the debate on the relative importance of having plans versus developing a capability within the organisation, and the importance of engaging people to develop this approach successfully.  She also highlighted the pressure of working in a 24/7 news cycle and that people ignore social media at their peril.  There was also an extended debate on what to do if the CEO is not effective in front of the cameras.

Following intensive afternoon tutorials exploring angles requested by delegates, the second day followed a similar format to the first day with three morning presentations followed by group discussions.

Andy Mason, Head of BCM at PwC, kicked off day two with a session on effective BCM structures in an international environment and the importance of developing a BCM capability rather than just plans. Andy’s session featured an extended discussion on crisis management and how it might be different (or not) from incident management.

Dr Helen Peck, senior lecturer at Cranfield University, provided a fresh perspective on supply chain risk analysis, providing a four-layer model to help analyse and reveal the dependencies and complexities of supply chain: separating process, infrastructure, networks and the wider environment into distinctive but interrelated levels.  She concluded by urging delegates to be more sceptical about received wisdom.

Stefan Gustafsson, formally head of incident and crises management at Vattenfall, led on the final formal session looking at horizon scanning and dealing with “unknown unknowns”.  He outlined an innovative model of bringing risk management’s probability/impact model together with BCM’s time/impact model to provide a better situation overview to senior management.  He also outlined the need for BCMers to engage with corporate strategy decision making processes, highlighting case studies of companies which had achieved this.  Finally, Stefan suggested a broader view of the disciplines that need to work together to provide better resilience.

A complimentary report from the Forum will be made available to members of the BCI Partnership later in July.

Programme development for next year’s BCM Executive Forum will start in September.  If you are potentially interested in sponsoring, presenting or participating in next year’s Forum, please contact lee.glendon@thebci.org


BEF 2012

2012’s event will run between 13-14th June in Brussels.

Contact lee.glendon@thebci.org for more information.

Copyright 2012, the BCI