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Having a well-crafted Business Continuity Plan (BCP) at the ready is crucial to safeguarding a business's assets, workforce, and reputation.

Every business operates in an environment susceptible to various incidents or disruptions that could significantly impact normal operations."

These scenarios can range from common incidents like power outages and natural disasters, to less frequent but severe ones like civil disturbances or economic disruptions.

In this article, we explore the importance of Business Continuity Plans, their key elements, and how Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management (VCLM) software can elevate a business's BCP implementation.

What is a business continuity plan?

The primary objective of a Business Continuity Plan is to define how a business intends to respond to various incidents that could significantly hinder its operation.

The aim of the BCP is to restore and resume critical and essential functions and processes as quickly as possible, to protect the organisation’s workforce, assets and reputation.

Some of the more typical incidents include:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm damage
  • Sustained power outage.

Less common events might include civil disturbance, military action, economic disruption and pandemics.

A BCP outlines the approach to restoring and resuming critical functions and processes swiftly in the event of such incidents. 

Critical Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

A comprehensive Business Continuity Plan typically comprises the following elements:

  1. Event/Incident Type: identifies the nature of potential business interruptions, like cyber-attacks or factory fires.

  2. Incident Prevention Measures: encompasses the essential activities, technologies, and protocols established to prevent or mitigate the event's occurrence.

  3. Response Trigger Delay: the period the event's effects have to persist for before invoking the BCP and issuing formal notifications.

  4. Impact/Effect: outlines who and what within the organisation could be affected by the event, the severity of the impact, and how this might vary over time.

  5. Response: This delineates what the organisation will do, when, and how, to contain, control, minimise, and recover from the event.

  6. Stakeholder Actions: specifies who will be involved in managing and implementing the response to an event and when these tasks will occur.

It's worth noting that every organisation is unique, so a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. It's essential to choose or create a BCP that fits the unique demands of your business.

There are hundreds of BCP templates available online, varying in details required, format, layout and so on. Any organisation that already has a BCP in place is likely to have its own requirements and arrangements sorted.

Testing your Business Continuity Plan

The worst time to be testing the robustness and effectiveness of your BCP for the first time in the heat of battle. By doing so, you'll quickly find out what doesn't work rather than what does - potentially hindering your business operations further. 

Scenario testing, desktop testing and dry-run testing are all approaches where different elements of a plan can be tested theoretically or practically, involving a few people or a lot. The only thing missing is the actual event. Its consequences and all the rest are simulated.

Regular testing also makes or keeps the stakeholders familiar with their roles and responsibilities.

The BCP will often need updating as a result of these tests, but also because the business environment, the organisation, its activities and risks change over time.

The Integral Role of VCLM Software in BCP Implementation

The implementation and management of a BCP can be significantly improved with the use of Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management (VCLM) software like Gatekeeper. VCLM software offers a centralised solution for managing contracts, making it an essential tool for business continuity planning.

Here's how VCLM software can support BCPs:

Streamlined Contract Management: provides a centralised location for managing and storing all vendor contracts, ensuring easy access to critical information during disruptions.

Automated Notifications: automates alerts for essential contract milestones, ensuring important deadlines aren't overlooked during times of disruption.

Risk Management Support: features tools that support BCP's risk assessment component, helping businesses predict and prepare for potential contract risks.

Enhanced Supplier Communication: aids management of vendor and supplier relationships during a crisis by providing relevant tools

Compliance Tracking: offers features to track compliance with legal and contractual obligations and flag potential issues, ensuring your business remains within legal and
contractual bounds even during a crisis.

Wrap Up

A robust, regularly updated and tested BCP can be a lifesaver for businesses during unexpected events.

Alongside this, implementing a VCLM software solution can significantly enhance the BCP's effectiveness, supporting risk management, centralised data storage, compliance tracking, and more."

Businesses with a strong BCP and the support of VCLM software can expect better outcomes during crises, ensuring operations run smoothly despite unexpected disruptions.

This level of preparedness not only benefits the organisation internally but also reassures contracted or prospective third parties about the organisation's readiness to handle unprecedented incidents.

To learn more about how Gatekeeper can help businesses manage risks, navigate rapidly changing global situations, and support your BCP initiatives, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. 


Rod Linsley
Rod Linsley

Rod is a seasoned Contracts Management and Procurement professional with a senior IT Management background, specialising in ICT contracts


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