Copycatting & Benchmarking

Have you ever wondered what the other guys are doing?  What they’re BCM program looks like and if yours matches up to their standards? Well, don’t.  What is good for them may not necessarily be good for you.  Why are you benchmarking your Business Continuity Management (BCM) program against competitors?  What you should do is ensure that what you have developed matches to the needs of your organization, not the needs of a competitor.  Why bother; are you doing it to see if you’re better than they are?  What if they are doing something that you don’t need to do because of the various ways your company differs from them; culture, philosophy, industry etc.

Focusing on the other guy will only cause issues for your organization, as you’ll try so hard to mimic, copy and imitate someone else’s program that you’ll create huge gaps in your own.  Your organization is unique and not like other corporations, so to should the BCM program reflect that.  When a disaster strikes your company your competitors won’t be looking at you for guidance and you won’t be looking at them; you’ll be too busy trying to get your own operations up and running – and hopefully – with as little impact to your employees and clients/customers/vendors as possible.

Of course, you can watch the TV and see how corporations deal with their various situations and how they respond and react to disaster situations and learn from their mistakes and mis-queue’s.  Not all captains of industry deserve the title of leader and some will completely “flub” their role and spend more energy trying to find someone to blame rather than concentrating on their restoration and recovery efforts.  When they do that you can usually guess they weren’t prepared or didn’t have appropriate plans in place – and you don’t want to end up like them. 

You don’t want to point the finger of blame, do you?  In some cases it may be true – such as terrorist – but if you can’t respond effectively then people will see you don’t have the proper plans in place.  Can you imagine what people would think if your organization stood up and said, “we followed what Company ‘X” does, so if we aren’t prepared it’s their fault.”  Um, I think not.  That wouldn’t be a good idea. 

I suggest adapting what you find the best aspects of various methodologies (DRI, BCI, BCM 25999, ISO etc) and then incorporate those characteristics into your program.  Just because some other company has 9 binders of information that responders would have to trawl through to find information doesn’t mean you need the same thing.  You may only need specific action items executed right away and not have a need for as many binders, which must be difficult to maintain.

Benchmarking against competitors won’t help you when it counts. It might give you and indication of how you’re doing compared to some other organization but benchmarking won’t tell you if you have the right program in place for your needs.  All any organization needs to understand is that when a disaster occurs – and it will – they have the right responses in place to enable them to weather the rough seas.  It doesn’t matter what others do or don’t do – it matters what your organization will do and how it will manage the situation.

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