Disaster Recovery Collaboration Among Organizations - Can It Be Done?

I received the McKinsey Quarterly alert today which highlighted the results of a survey they did on what executives viewed as the top current business trends. The survey of some 3,500 executives across the world indicated that innovation and the free flow of information are what are considered the biggest drivers of the pace of change in businesses today. While this is not a revealing insight, I still find it useful to have it validated every now and then. (Thanks to Matt Moore for also reminding us that innovation is what’s “cool” today.)

Back to the MQ report, what was interesting to me though was to learn that while risk management to deal with changes in economic, regulatory and financial elements was common, generally, most companies did not have risk management plans to deal with a pandemic, natural disaster or changes in geopolitical landscapes such as those arising from terrorism. What is interesting about this is that it’s not like we think it could not happen, what with the tsunamis/hurricanes, SARS, bird flu, etc. that we’ve seen these last few years, but really how will businesses handle such crises? And if they are not planning, is it because the outcomes from these “abnormal scenarios” are unpredictable, there are too many variables, or that they are not getting enough information on these issues? Is it because they do not want to think about the dreadful possibility or because information around how these “misfortunes” are managed is mostly sensitive and hush-hush? Assuming all these are true and that businesses need to live with the fact, it would seem like it would still be so critical to have some plan in hand.

It is generally true that businesses are less networked (for competitive reasons) than agencies/governments. Could they do the noble thing and collaborate on this front, jointly develop risk management and business continuity plans to deal with these possibilities and save having to multiply resources to handle such situations? It cannot be that it is only at the national level that disaster recovery collaboration and defence strategies apply.

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