Business continuity and operational resilience – how different are they really?

Delighted to find that my article, ‘Business continuity and operational resilience – how different are they really?‘, listed on the Continuity Central site has been listed as the 7th most read article of 2022

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Business continuity and operational resilience – the article

The article comments on the Operational Resilience Report 2022, which was published recently by the Business Continuity Institute, and asks whether the report has added to confusion in the profession about business continuity and operational resilience.

The FCA states that ‘Operational Resilience is the ability of firms, financial market infrastructures and the financial sector as a whole to prevent, adapt and respond to, recover and learn from operational disruption’ and has required financial organisations to do a considerable piece of work identifying potential impacts on customers for all aspects of their work.

However, in my article, I argue that this is nothing new, and that business continuity done correctly should always have taken the approach of understanding the requirements of all interested parties. Indeed, the BCI’s own Good Practice Guide of 2018 states that business continuity management is ‘holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations those threats, if realized, might cause, and which provides a framework for building organizational resilience with the capability of an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.’ If customers are not a ‘key stakeholder’, then businesses are possibly doing something quite wrong!

Having worked with a start-up challenger bank, it is obvious that the guidelines and requirements are causing duplication of effort and, possibly, the creation of yet more siloed thinking.  Despite demonstrating that an effective approach to business continuity completely mapped into the operational resilience requirements, the bank simply did not have the confidence to merge the approach, and insisted on maintaining a separate set of documentation to satisfy the requirements for Operational Resilience, thus creating needless duplication, and increased likelihood of errors, and a lack of joined up thinking leading, possibly, to a reduction in resilience.

Also puzzling is the approach of the Business Continuity Institute, who controversially state that it is ‘concerning’ that professionals in our field believe that “Operational resilience is just business continuity done well”.

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For the uninitiated, Continuity Central is an independent website for the business continuity, resilience, and enterprise risk management communities, collating research, newsletters, articles, and jobs relating to the business continuity industry. It is an incredibly valuable resource, and I would recommend signing up to their regular newsletters.

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