BCI GPGs: no such thing as a “critical business process”

You will not find the words “critical business process” anywhere in The BCI’s new 2013 Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs). That’s good, because there is no such thing.

The BCI devotes half a page (page 51) to addressing the erroneous assertion that BCM is only for “critical” or “key” or “important” activities. That’s wrong. It’s folklore, a superstition. It is a shibboleth, a canard, a lie told by charlatans to deceive unbelievers. It is the first step on a road to perdition and professional damnation. At the end of that road, here be dragons!

Come on, even Internal Audit becomes urgent eventually.

Sinners! Fall to your knees and repeat after me: ‘I believe that BCM is for all business products, services, processes and activities!’ The purpose of business impact analysis (BIA) is, specifically, to prioritize them. The 2013 GPGs state that the outcome of a BIA is “a list of the organization’s most urgent groups of products and services” (page 54).

In my world, the outcome of a BIA is a list of all products and services (and processes and activities), prioritized in descending order of urgency, which is generally – but not always! -n reflected in their recovery time objectives (RTOs): the longer the RTO, the lower the priority. There is no process so “critical” that its failure will by itself cause a company to collapse.

BCI-DRJ alliance: this is ‘thought leadership’?

So this is what passes for thought leadership in business continuity management (BCM) these days.

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a U.K. professional association with global ambitions and under-exploited footholds in the growth markets of Asia, Middle East and South America, goes looking for a partner in North America. After thoughtful deliberation about the future of BCM in the 21st century, and with all the time in the world to make a choice, they select…the Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ), a 24-year old, American, family-owned magazine publisher and conference producer that must be the only BCM business in the world still calling it “disaster recovery,” the most-resented term in BCM profession.

BCI’s announcement says the alliance “aims to align thought leadership between [the] two organizations,” while DRJ’s press release says the alliance will “broaden and deepen discussions in…business continuity and related professions.”

That “thought leadership” bit caught my eye. When I first skimmed the headline, I mistakenly thought the BCI and the American professional association formerly-known-as the Disaster Recovery Institute International – DRII – had finally decided to stop pissing on each other’s shoes. Now, that would be news.

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Sub-prime BCM certifications in Asia

What does it really mean for an individual to be “certified” in business continuity?

Like the euphemism “sub-prime”, the word “certified” is losing its meaning in Asia as the number and variety of BCM certifications and their purveyors grow like vines in the jungle. Attend a course, get the certificate and poof! You’re certified!

In Asia, for example, you can become certified by the BCM Institute as a Business Continuity Certified Professional (BCCP) with no prior BCM experience if you fork out US 840, spend one day in a class and another half day answering fifty questions on a test. You do not have to answer all of them correctly. That’s a fast-track bargain by any standard. The BCMI offers plenty more certifications, too.

Or you can become certified by The International Consortium for Organizational Resilience (ICOR) in Asia as a Certified Crisis Team Leader in three days for US 2,200. Or you can become a Certified Media Spokesperson for 800 bucks – in just nine hours (no examination required). I say, bring on the Exxon Valdez disaster: your spokesman is ready.

Long on ambition but short of time? You can be certified as both a Crisis Management AND Communications Professional (CMCP) in as few as four days. It costs US$3,700, but, hey, you only have to get a ‘C’ grade (75 percent) on the exam. You must also list two years of experience, but doing what?

So Many BCM Certifications

Here in Asia, a lot of BCP practitioners want to earn certifications in business continuity and the related fields of emergency management, I.T. disaster recovery, crisis management and security. I’ve made a table of certifications in those fields and links to the organizations that offer them.

I’ve included only certifications from independent, non-profit organizations or their education arms. All of the certifications listed are internationally-recognized, although all of them originate from North America or Europe.

I have not included any from private companies that give out certificates (as opposed to certifications) on completion of their programs, although there are many of them and they may be worth your time and money.

Certification Organization
Member of the Business Continuity Institute (MBCI) The Business Continuity Institute (The BCI, British)
Certified Business Continuity Planner (CBCP) Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII, American
Certified Business Resilience Manager CBRM) Business Resilience Certification Consortium International (BRCCI, Canadian)
Certified Organization Resilience Professional (CORP) The Int’l Consortium for Organizational Resilience (ICOR)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) ISC2
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Information Systems Audit & Control Association (ISACA)
Certified Emergency Manager International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
Certified Protection Professional (CPP) ASIS International (ASIS) formerly American Society for Industrial Security

DRII sinking or swimming in Asia?

The Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) has appointed a new representative in Singapore, operating under the name “DRI Singapore.” The representative, CCS Enterprise (S) Private Limited, also operates Strohl Systems Singapore for the American BCP software company Strohl Systems (now Sungard Availability Services) Note: Sungard advertises on our web site.

After a nasty break-up six months ago (read this bizarre press release from DRII) with its former Asia regional representative DRI Asia Pte Ltd., DRII decided to appoint separate representatives in each country. DRII has a representative in China and recently also appointed a representative in Malaysia.

New DRII representatives in Asia face an uphill climb, and here’s why:

They must try to rehabilitate DRII’s tarnished reputation in Asia with limited marketing budgets, and without the benefit of DRI Asia’s mailing list, which is now being used to promote a competing, Asian BCP certification program from the BCM Institute.They each have smaller target markets than DRI Asia did. Asia (including India, China and Japan) has 3.7 billion people. Singapore, however, has roughly the population of Alabama (population 4.5 million).

Malaysia has the population of Texas (population 23 million), but no effective requirements for companies to prepare and test business continuity plans, and therefore little demand for trained BCP professionals.

Big Bucks in BCP

We have the results of search firm BC Management‘s compensation survey of BCP professionals in Asia. A full-time BCP professional in Singapore earns US $78,000 per year (average). In Malaysia, she earns only US $31,000, but in Hong Kong, she earns US $180,000! We say:  恭喜 to her! More than 100 people in Asia responded to the anonymous, online survey that Forbes Calamity Prevention distributed in February. You may download a free copy of the Asia report here, or see compensation results for the USA, Canada or the UK & Europe.