Is it time for BCM functions to expand their remit?

03 November 2016

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Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been teasing you with some statistics from the BCI and PwC summer survey, which was on the future of BCM. Deborah Higgins and I are going to share a heap of new statistics and insights at the BCI conference on Wednesday 9th November, but in this final tease before the conference, we wanted to share this…

62% of respondents believe that it’s going to become more important for BCM functions and professionals to expand their remits beyond ‘traditional BCM’.

As very few who felt it was going to become less important - with the rest saying it would remain “as important” - that feels a lot like general agreement to me. What do you think?

If most of the 740+ respondents believe that the BCM function or professional’s remit must expand beyond the “traditional” – which I will presume to be everything in ISO22301 and the classic BCM lifecycle - what will, or what does, that increased remit include? And how many of us will need to better equip ourselves to deliver that challenge?

If you saw Jack Armstrong’s blog post last week, you know that the survey also told us that it’s becoming more important to work closely with functions that BS 65000 (the British Standard for Organisational Resilience) refers to as ‘protective disciplines’: Risk, Information Security (Cyber), Security, Crisis Management, Health & Safety and so on. While we didn’t ask where respondents saw that remit going, I wondered if it might be in these directions. So I asked my LinkedIn connections with BCM roles what else their remits included…

Interestingly, while many people were keen to talk about the (accidental) gender divide statistic from the survey, fewer jumped in to share the remits of their role.

  • One person said that while leading BCM they were involved in supplier procurements and due diligence processes, and they worked closely with Security and HR and dealt with internal and external risk issues
  • Another advised that as the Risk Manager they were also responsible for BCM and insurance, as well as doing some procurement activity and working on key contracts.

I was a little surprised that not so many wanted to share their remits: usually my BCM connections on LinkedIn are a vocal bunch with plenty of opinions - and never too shy to start a conversation or join a debate! But one person had already given me the heads up to expect this, writing in a private message:

Don't be surprised how vulnerable/insecure a lot of BCMs are about disclosing publicly what their role entails and the stability of their roles.

I wasn’t sure what they meant, but it’s something I might see if Rebecca Robinson and Deborah Higgins want to explore a little more in the workshop we’ve arranged to discuss and debate the statistics. (See below for how you can get involved in that discussion in real time on 9 November – from wherever you are in the world.)

Personally speaking, my former in-house “BCM” role actually included very little “traditional” BCM. Of course I helped to deliver a lot of oversight and advice and support in the BCM realm, but most of my actual time was spent on: BCM and crisis exercising, joining strategic programme teams, working closely with Facilities, HR, Security and Health & Safety to prevent things from happening in the first place, working with leaders in divisions on resilience planning (as well as BCM), working on procurement teams to help make sure our supply chain was suitably resilient, and facilitating the response to actual incidents at various hours of the day and night.

But is this a ‘typical’ BCM role? While I was in the role I think I simply assumed it was but now I know that’s not the case. For this blog I wanted some hard evidence about what current BCM roles might contain. So I went looking… I checked a specialist BCM job site, the list of 20 “BCM” jobs on the first page included adverts for a Risk & Business Continuity Officer, a Data Security & Business Continuity Co-ordinator, a Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Project Manager, a Health & Safety & BCM Project Manager, a Security & Business Continuity, a Project Director, and Business Continuity & Risk Management.

Only eight of the 20 roles in the list cited just ‘Business Continuity’ in the job title. That implies 60% of specialist BCM roles out there at the moment have wider remits than BCM alone. That’s pretty similar to the 62% in our survey findings. Is that, perhaps, one of the clearest confirmations of the trend that the survey suggests: that in the future, BCM professionals will need more strings to their bow to remain in leadership positions? Or actually, are your roles already so multi-faceted that this is very old news?  I know this is the case for many of us: but what about you?


If you’re interested in getting more statistics from the BCI and PwC summer survey on the future of BCM, or joining in debating and discussing the future of the profession, here are a few ways to get involved:

If you are going to be at the BCI World Conference 2016 on Wednesday 9 November.

  • Join Deborah Higgins and I at 11:00am GMT as we share headline findings from the survey according to 740+ BCM professionals around the world.
  • At 2:00 GMT, join us again as Rebecca Robinson opens the conversation to the public to explore and debate key findings.

Not going to the conference? No problem, below are ways you can still join in the conversation:

  • Click here to visit our blog and read past articles on the survey findings and sign up for email alerts for all our future articles. You can also send your comments to us here, here or below. 
  • Join the live debate on Twitter - 9 November at 14:00 GMT - follow @TheBCEye and use #Hire2Retire to join in the debate in real time as a virtual group.
  • Get a copy of the slides we use at the conference to share the headline survey results. The slides will be attached in our next blog on Friday 11 November so be sure to sign up for our blog alert.
  • Drop me an email to request a copy of the full report that will be issued after we’ve had a moment to digest and include some of the debate from the conference on the findings.
  • If you want to chat about the survey findings, get in touch and I’ll arrange a coffee with me, Deborah, Rebecca, Jack or Martin Caddick. You can also get involved in our follow up survey.

Charley Newnham | Enterprise Resilience

[email protected]

View Charley Newnham's profile on LinkedIn

More articles by Charley Newnham


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