What does 2013 hold for business continuity?

With 2012 all but a distant memory now, attention has quickly turned to what is in store for businesses in the coming 12 months, particularly when it comes to business continuity and the changes expected.

Continuity Central has conducted a survey into this very aspect of the business environment to see just what those involved within the sector believe will happen in the coming months.

A total of 184 responses were received by the firm from professionals in the UK, US, Australia, the Middle East and India.

The survey asked business continuity professionals what level of changes they expected to see in the way their organisation deals with business continuity in 2013. A third said they believe large changes will take place in 2013.

Just over half (50.8 per cent) expected to see small changes and only 14.8 per cent anticipate that no changes will take place in 2013.

As a follow up to the above question, respondents were asked to describe the biggest change they expect to see in business continuity practices or strategies within their organisation during 2013.

Key themes when it comes to changes in 2013 were a varied approach to business continuity management, with many expecting a convergence of the practice with other resilience related disciplines.

Another area highlighted by the respondents was a shift from coaching planners at the business unit level to enterprise wide operational risk analysis, including scenario planning.

A further 11.8 per cent of respondents expect to see a greater focus on testing and/or exercising in 2013, while 7.2 per cent expect to make changes to enable alignment with the new ISO 22301 business continuity management standard.

However, the changes forecast to take place in the next 12 months will not just happen overnight and take place without hurdles and obstacles to overcome.

A lack of budget for business continuity activities is expected to have the largest impact on the prospective changes in the industry and whether or not they will take place, with over a third of respondents stating that this will be their biggest challenge in 2013.

This was followed by a lack of buy-in to the process from executive management, high levels of change within organisations, not enough staff to make these happen, a lack of time and the impact of business priorities.