As I write this, I reflect on the many conversations I had at our recent Fall 2009 conference. It was DRJ’s 41st conference and as host, we have felt the strain of the economy as almost everyone.
It was evident we all have been forced to do more with less over the past year. The times are especially tough for housing, automotive, financial and other industries. In each situation, it is impossible not to feel for the employees and families who are affected.
But even with the bad news, there were a lot of positives that came to light in my discussions at the conference. Many organizations are becoming more streamlined and more efficient. They are returning to the core of their organization and cutting out much of the extras that have been inadvertently added over the years. By trimming budgets, companies have been forced to refocus their missions and realize how far they have strayed from primary goals.
For some, bankruptcy was a necessary option to get back to business. Thankfully, for many, like Frontier Airlines we heard about in a general session or General Motors, which has made global news, it had a positive outcome. Many organizations will not face large hurdles, but every organization has had to reflect on its direction, budget and mission.
Business continuity planners are well aware of how quickly things can change. In an instant, an interruption, a disruption or an eruption can bring a business to a halt. You never know what tomorrow will bring and you must always be prepared. For Frontier, General Motors and countless others it was the sudden downturn in the economy that opened eyes to the fact that things can change quickly. For business continuity planners, we’ve known that lesson for years – and we know the impact can be long-lasting.
Will the lessons learned from this year be heeded in the future? How can we apply business-wide lessons to our sector? More importantly, how can we bring the message of business continuity into the mainstream part of the organization?
In my conversations at Fall World 2009, I found it is a topic on everyone’s mind. Based on the determination of those I met at the conference, and those who read our magazine, I know we will all come out of this downturn with a stronger plan for keeping our organizations safe.
Many planners are not only improving their own organizations but also concentrating on improving their contributions to the industry. For some that includes returning to school. Universities across the country are reporting record enrollment. These individuals are looking to improve their knowledge and gain skills more suited for today’s workforce. This is certainly a positive effect.
The Internet offers many tools from online classes to webinars to networking forums. Nearly every day you can find a webinar to attend and increase your knowledge on a particular topic. Sites like DRJ.com, Continuity Central, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. offer incredible updated information on current trends and industry topics.
When you combine the incredible networking opportunities at conferences and other face-to-face meetings with online networking, there is an amazing amount of information-sharing that can be accomplished. My conversations at Fall World 2009 are a prime example of how much we can accomplish through networking. I enjoyed meeting these individuals and look forward to our next show, Spring World 2010, March 21-24, in Orlando, Fla.
I plan to have conversations with many of you about the recovery process and hope to have more positives to share in the future. In the meantime I invite you to browse the helpful articles in this issue, visit our website for webinars and other tips, and help us continue to build a strong business continuity planning world. The road to recovery is getting shorter each day. Join DRJ as we take it together!