AFRICA: Business Continuity Institute Breaks Through African Borders
Recent Gauteng Business News
African countries are getting more serious about Business Continuity Management (BCM) if the recent membership figures of the UK based Business Continuity Institute (BCI) are to be used as an indicator.
The UK-based Business Continuity Institute (BCI) was established in 1994 to enable individual members to obtain guidance and support from fellow business continuity practitioners. It currently has over 6500 members in over 100 different countries.
Through its Certification Scheme, the Institute provides internationally recognized status to its members as professional membership of the BCI demonstrates the members competence to carry out Business Continuity Management (BCM) to a consistent high standard.
In 2005 the first South African BCI Forum was launched with a hand full of members spread across Africa. The launch was not only the first in Southern Africa, but also in Africa. Constitutionally, a BCI Forum is a voluntary interest group with no regulatory mandate or financial responsibility, which follows certain terms of reference to align with the BCI. As at the end of January this year, Africa has approximately four hundred and eighty-eight (488) BCI members, of which a hundred and thirty-three (133) are BCI statutory members.
From 2005 the South African Forum has maintained momentum. In early 2010 Louise Theunissen, GM Client Services, ContinuitySA was appointed the BCIs first Board member from the African continent. Her brief was to provide guidance to the board on global growth initiatives. The role provided an opportunity to grow the institute's membership on the continent and act as a catalyst to the expansion of business continuity best practices throughout the region.
Since early last year, after the election of the BCI Committee South African, there has been a resurgence of interest and focus on Business Continuity, spearheaded by the BCI Forum South Africa Chairman, Dr Cliff Ferguson.
BCI - Connecting Interested Parties
The objective of establishing the BCI Committee South African was to bring together all interested parties across the continent, starting with South Africa. The Terms of Reference created by theBCI Committee South Africa confirmed The purpose and scope of the BCI COMMITTEE SOUTH AFRICA as follows:
1. To support Southern African BC Practitioners and members, on behalf of BCI, with Business Continuity knowledge and value added services;
2. To promote and increase the business continuity awareness within the SADC Region; and
3. To increase the BCI footprint in the SADC Region through the establishment of a BC Network of like-minded practitioners and members.
To ensure that the key objectives, aligned to the overall strategy were being addressed, several workgroups were created and managed by members of the BCI Committee South African. The active workgroups are as identified below:
1. BCI Chapter SADC: Establish and maintain a SADC Chapter;
2. Communications: To create a communication channel between SABCIC and BCI members and prospective members;
3. Events: To promote any events that may be of interest to BCI members and prospective members. Identify any future event requirements and assist with the associated organisation as and were required;
4. Research: Provide BCI with feedback and support on various initiatives and requests relating to African perspectives gathered from member participation; and
5. Intergovernmental, Cross border and Parastatal: Create awareness within the inter-governmental sector to improve opportunities for growth.
Establishment of a SADC BCI Chapter
Individual workgroups were set up and although each workgroup plays a key role, the Committees initial focus is on the establishment of a SADC Chapter in order to secure its future activities. The initial proposal for the Establishment of a BCI Chapter in the SADC Region was submitted to the BCI Board on the 27th February 2012. After careful review, the SADC Chapter Establishment Request was approved. The next step in finalising the SADC Chapter will be to submit a business plan to the BCI Board for final approval.
Further to the Chapter approval, additional key achievements included:
· The last quarterly forum held in January 2012 hosted in excess of forty-five (45) participants;
· Quarterly Newsletter is being finalised and will be released by the end of March 2012;
· Discussions are currently underway with the BCI to host the first BCI SADC Conference and Awards Ceremony in 2012; and
· Planning around the development and launch of a BCI SADC website is currently in progress.
The success of all activities initiated by the BCI Committee South African and SADC BCI members is dependent on the participation of all members and membership organisations and all members are actively encouraged to get involved.
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