Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New threats, new technologies: the announced end of the … – Les Echos

These entities are they provided dressed for crises – reasonably probable – that threaten? Can they claim to be organized to ensure their resilience? Whether they know it or hide it, the answer is almost always negative.

A documentary corpus that has lost its goal

For indeed the PCA as it exists today in most organizations suffer from multiple defaults accented with time. The most serious of them all? Its name, which neutralizes the urgency of the crisis concept.

The concept of “Plan” reassures all is ready, things are written, anticipated. There is little more to deploy to “continue the activity”: the question is not “if” it will take, but “how”? This is a grossly misleading picture of what policymakers will wait the big day: an unexpected event, with multiple contingencies, requiring fast face a business decision that stopped in sudden circumstances, and where a restart is seriously compromised.

The traditional continuity plan, its main site outage scenario following a fire or unavailability of staff following a snowfall, with the solution of a downturn personnels- key to a secondary site, almost Proust’s madeleine office responsible for PCA.

Thus, with the proliferation of risks and organizational changes, have we (sometimes) decided to go further, to write more scenarios to list more detail the processes, personnel, expected recovery times, critical days, vendors, interfaces, dependencies and cross skills. In the end, the rigidity of a prolific documentation outweighed the only quality required in times of crisis: flexibility.

Because the only thing certain when the big day comes, it is that nothing will happen as planned:

o Cell crisis will take longer to assemble than the theoretical limit restart of the most critical activities;

o The crisis will never be complete, and roles will not be defined;

o Some employees will not receive the alert for various reasons;

o On key employees (or managers), 20 to 40% will be on vacation or traveling (dem for identified substitutes);

o Many do not have the ability to join the backup site (because of the situation itself or a simple event in life: to keep child car to the garage, etc.);

o It is obviously at that time an infrastructure, a tool, a logistics link will malfunction. Preferably the platform of telephone conference or videoconference, which seems always watch these crisis moments to discover improbable crashes or sudden and compelling need for an update.

Everything you can imagine, and especially what we will not have imagined will happen. Paradoxically, the extremely precise and detailed plan will become an obstacle to the management of the crisis, policymakers and straying away clean emergencies in the situation they are facing. In a crisis, the detail is a comfortable niche in which the mind is tempted to take refuge.

The resilience can not pass by adding complexity

The PCA must refocus on capacity crisis unit to make quick decisions on a limited number of patterns, based on “soft” solutions, while delegating responsibility for the operational organization to local management. It is, relatively speaking, the model of governing in France ORSEC the actions of emergency disaster and proven.

This goal can never be achieved by adding additional and specific procedures for crisis management in organizations that there are little face: the moment of the crisis n ‘ is not one where we must try something that we can not control. On the contrary, the conditioned reflexes that we must support. And with an average year by year, managers and teams will be closer to total oblivion that instinctive control of these processes.

The development over the last fifteen years of dedicated teams PCA is an important and commendable step forward, but hardly mature. Can reasonably be considered that this perpetual adolescence is a logical consequence of the inherent productivity-cons to this mode of organization. For a team whose job is to make the PCA PCA. So more and more independent.

By adding to existing business processes. By competing with other teams. To support and enhance its position in the company, each service must be prolific and demonstrate its importance. But resilience is the enemy of prolific: she needs simplicity and integrated processes.

PCA charge: an advisory role rather than running

The initial development phase and updating the PCA, analysis of business impact, is the first defective link in the chain. The level of detail and complexity of the reading result in biased analysis by the manager and asked his interlocutor. Only the most sensitive and objective questions must remain:

o What activities take?

o In what order?

o Do you have on you the coordinates of your employees to organize the return of your activities?

The objective is twofold and return to the essential role of manager of business continuity. First, implement the key messages in the minds of local managers through clear and few questions. Secondly, compile the PCA only the volume of information assimilated by the crisis and sufficient to inform decision making.

Furthermore, the activity recovery strategy must free a maximum of attachment to fallback sites. Any responsible PCA has organized retrenchment exercises has necessarily thought, at least once during the day: “it will never work in a real situation.” Is right. This solution should be restricted to those activities for which a non-deportable specific equipment is mandatory in any situation.

This is also a financial drain that damages the image reflected by the preparation device to the crisis. Remote work and the use of digital collaborative tools should be the fundamental building block of modern PCA. It is not only the solution to the greatest number of resume work with more ease, but has also the advantage of capitalizing on digital transformations already underway in many structures.

Again, the role of the PCA is responsible to inform decision-making on strategic directions in terms of infrastructure in this perspective of resilience. It will be more effective, efficient and economical the design in conjunction with a device DSI target for Homeworking rather that intervening after the fact to demonstrate the lack of resilience of the SI and invest in complementary specific devices.

Any solution resilience must be based on a usual device and controlled by employees and Homeworking is no exception. Again, the role of the PCA is to bring the managerial functions to understand the interest and profits. Not only to secure cost of continuity, but also for daily activity.

For example, if ill child or unavailability of transport, where remote working allows not totally having to spend a resource for the whole day . And reluctant fearing productivity drop at home, informed PCA responsible will ask the question: Is it easier not to work at his desk, or remotely when the only evidence of its activity is to produce emails and Documents regularly?

In short, the position of the team in charge of continuity can not be that of an entity offering its own solutions. It is rather that of an agitator, posing important questions at every opportunity, allows processes in place to evolve progressively towards a native and intrinsic resilience.


This is not to undo all of the PCA loading organizations have the merit to make today a first level of response. But it is time to accept the imminent failure of this method, and build a smooth transition to a more current and realistic model. Deliver business continuity teams in an integrated transversal situation, rather than a job to share with its own goals and ambitions.

Encourage the development of tools and processes so that they can operate in degraded way, rather than trying to replace them with specific processes to the crisis. Give simple and practical keys for decision makers to focus on priorities in crisis unit, rather than drown in the prolific documentation. Increase the sense of responsibility of the managers as to the resilience of the activity which they are responsible, rather than give them the illusion that someone is in charge.

All these changes, and those they induce are obviously complex and include several technical and organizational dimensions. It is not to be underestimated. However, it is time to replace the PCA in its true role: ensuring operational capacity to manage the crisis. Not “if” it occurs, but “when” it will happen?

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