The Middle East Turmoil: A New Perspective for BCM? (Part II)

As promised, here’s Part II of The Middle East Turmoil: A New Perspective for BCM?

7. New Policies / Regulations – With every change in ‘guard’ be it in your won country, province (or state), city, corporation,
division or department, the new guy always brings there own changes they want to see implemented.  It’s how they make  their mark on the organization after all.  So, what’s to stop a country in the Middle East from doing the same thing that you
experience on an ongoing basis?  You’ll have to keep tabs on changing regulations on the other end because the rules could change quite a bit – and often – while new policies and regulations are determined.  This could impact you by way of delivery dates, costs and any additional processes you need to put in place.  All this will have to be reflected in your BCM/DR plans because the plans you have in place are based on the level of impact (and process descriptions) as they once were, not as
they’ve now become.

8. Public Relation Concerns – This is really based on how your corporate culture operates in your own country and how it operates in these uneasy countries.  You may have been able to easily side step some regulations or hide some operational flaws but when it ‘hits the fan’ you won’t be able to hide anymore.  You’re organizational culture should be mature enough to enable you to continue to operate with the new administration(s).  If it isn’t – and wasn’t before any turmoil – you may find that the civilian population is against you and sees you as a pariah and oppressive; a corporation in the same company as those the population are trying to supplant.  This subject can get very detailed – and political – but for the purposes of this article, I’m just going to skim the surface.  (Maybe I’ll write something more detailed for a future article.)

9. New Risks / Vulnerabilities – With new administrations comes new risks and new ways of doing business.   Even before the new administration steps in, leading up to it can be a very volatile situation.  If you do business in the Middle East (or any country experiencing civil strife) you should be considering civil strife as a risk.  I doubt a few months ago Egypt or Tunisia’s ex-presidents thought they’d be out of office.  The wave is spreading to new countries – look at Yemen, Morocco and more recently, Syria.  Each is now experiencing various levels of strife and it doesn’t seem any country is immune.  But the instability these new administration bring with them can mean your business is at risk; you certainly won’t be operating in the same capacity (costs, revenues, labour, expenses etc) as you were during peaceful times. There’s a level of uncertainty that comes with these tumultuous times for businesses and this increases you risk level – and you need to address your contingency strategies and risk tolerance levels.

10. New Business Impacts – As I noted above, your risk and impact levels are changing during the turmoil periods and will      continue once the turmoil calms down.  Let’s face it; it’s all fluid at the moment; changing almost on a daily basis.  The DR/BCM professional must be vigilant on what risks are cropping up and making adjustments were necessary to mitigation strategies; either increasing or decreasing the level of contingency strategy(s).  I’m not suggesting that on a daily basis you rewrite your plans and processes, far from it.  What I am suggesting is that those key items that don’t look like they are going to change or those items that have changed drastically should be considered in your plans.  The small things will eventually work themselves out – for the good or the bad – and then adjustments can be made accordingly.  If you’re doing business in a zone that is in turmoil – or has experienced turmoil – you’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on and get the learning’s into your program.

11. Facility Closures – This can be for a few reasons; looting, wilful destruction, no people to operate the facility or no power      to run it.  It can be for many reasons and if you have a good DR/BCM program in place, you’ve got something to address facility availability issues.  However, there’s something a bit different here; it might not be in your plans.  Depending on your relationships with the old administration, you may simply be asked – or told – to ‘relocate’ to someplace else.  You may not be wanted by the new administration.  Make sure you know who you’re doing business with – and why – and understand that under the current circumstances, you may not be able to do business in the country any more.  You may have plans that address short term closures but with the various anti-this and anti-that sentiments being tossed about, you may have to up your      facility availability strategies because the loss could be permanent; then what’s your action plan?

12. Transient Populations / Workforce Freedoms – You may have a workforce that is limited in mobility and thus you have a
workforce that is stable at least in the sense they get to your office to work when needed.  But, if things change you workforce could slowly evaporate as opportunities that didn’t exist suddenly become available to the population; your factory no longer      fills the need it once did to provide a job to the populace.  Many may leave for new opportunities but others may leave because of the turmoil itself (either participating in it or escaping it) and either way, you could loose you workforce.  But then again, you probably already have a plan in place to address people availability issues, right?

These thoughts aren’t just for the DR/BCM professional but considerations for all corporations around the world to consider.  As the globe is changing – and the social norms in many countries are being redefined – DR & BCM must take a second look at their plans and processes, not just of they existance but at the scale and scope of the plans.  Slowly but surely, the usual thoughts of preparing for a fire, flood or bad storm are being eclipsed by other situations; not all have been thought of before – or experienced by society in the modern age.

For many companies, nothing may change and the Middle East turmoil holds no additional threat.  Though, if any company drives a vehicle (regardless of size) I don’t know how you can’t be impacted by the price of oil.  For multi-nationals  things are going to change quite drastically depending on how prepared they are in dealing with the turmoil spreading like a wildfire through the Middle East.

Don’t let the turmoil dictate your plan of action but have a dictated action plan that pro-actively addresses turmoil.  Consider all the options available to you, no matter how complex or far reaching they may be.  The world isn’t running on “business as usual” and neither should you.  After all, business as usual is just a normal where a change hasn’t occurred…yet…and then there is a new business as usual.

 **NOW AVAILABLE**

 “Heads
in the Sand: What Stops Corporations From Seeing Business Continuity as a
Social Responsibility
” and “Made
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by StoneRoad founder, A.Alex
Fullick, MBCI, CBCP, CBRA, ITILv3

Available
at www.stone-road.com, www.amazon.com & www.volumesdirect.com

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