n Companies rely on a mix of channels for communication,
even social. While 53 percent of companies report using an
automated communication service, it’s clear that companies
are augmenting these services with everything from manual
call tree lists ( 71 percent) to social technologies like Facebook
and Twitter ( 18 percent) (see Figure 8-2).
Invocations Are Frequent; Training Is Key To
Invocations of BCPs are more frequent than companies would
suspect. In 2008, 50 percent of respondents reported that they
had invoked a BCP plan at least once during the past five years.
In 2011, that percentage has increased to 61 percent (see Figure
9-1)! The most common causes included extreme weather and
natural disasters (same as in 2008) and then once again followed
closely by power outages, IT failures, floods and fire (see Figure
During the last few years, catastrophic natural disasters have
made the news once again, everything from the Haiti earthquake
to the Japanese Tsunami. However, it’s important that companies don’t make the mistake of focusing solely on catastrophic
disasters. In reality, extreme but not catastrophic weather, such
as winter storms, can debilitate a business if the data center is
running but no one can get to work. In addition, many companies don’t realize the frequency of power outages as a result of
extreme weather and also because of aging and saturated power
grids in developed countries.
When we asked companies what were the top three lessons they
learned from their invocations, the top two lessons are identical in
2008 and 2011: 1) there hadn’t been enough training and awareness across the company; and 2) plans didn’t adequately address
internal communication and collaboration. In 2011, we have a
new No. 3: key staff hadn’t been included in testing (see Figure
9-3). When you don’t include more staff in training, they are less
likely to know their roles and responsibilities during a crisis or to
execute their responsibilities effectively under duress. Remember
that one of the key reasons for running tests is to train staff.
Source: Forrester Research, Inc.
Everyone Wants To Know
If You’re Ready Or Not
BC readiness is no longer just a good practice; it’s considered
a fiduciary responsibility to employees, partners, and customers.
Increasingly, you must provide proof of BC readiness not just
internally but externally. In our study, Forrester found that:
n One fifth of companies report BC status to executives quarterly.
More companies are increasing the frequency with which
they report BC readiness efforts to senior executives. In our
study, we found that 20 percent of companies now report BC
readiness to executives quarterly, 4 percent report three times,
19 percent twice a year and 38 percent report at least once a
year. Only 12 percent of companies reported that they did not
report results to senior executives (See Figure 10-1).
The State of Business Continuity Preparedness