Opening speaker Roberto O. Ramirez, vice-chairman of industry relations for Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE), a non-profit organization in New York City, spoke about "Business Continuity Planning for the 21st Century." Ramirez spoke about his position at CPE and the successes and limitations of the business response and recovery following the World Trade Center attack. He addressed common planning misconceptions which existed prior to 9-11, included a thorough assessment of the 9-11 response, and ended with a section on the necessity for new planning trends based on lessons learned from the attacks.
Ramirez also stressed how much major metropolitan communities can benefit from – and the need for more cities to promote the existence of – specialized non-profit organizations such as CPE, CMPO and Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness (BICEPP is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, Calif.). Tokyo’s CMPO shares a "sister-organization" relationship with both CPE and BICEPP, and all three organizations share the mission of exchanging emergency management and business continuity skills and information between organizations and individuals among the private, public, and non-profit sectors.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Shinji Hosotsubo, secretary-general of CMPO. His presentation was titled, "Differences between US/Japanese Disaster Recovery and the Six Elements of Corporate Crisis Management." Due to his frequent and extensive "learning missions" to the United States, Hosotsubo was able to present a relatively thorough assessment of past, present, and future trends within the American disaster recovery industry. He also included photographs and detailed descriptions of key moments and highlight events that took place over the period of several San Diego and Orlando DRJ Conferences.
Given the unique combination of Japan’s highly developed corporate economy and nearly unprecedented level of potential risk exposure, Hosotsubo urged his Japanese audience to learn from American experiences as rapidly as possible. He stressed that instead of simply "re-inventing the wheel" in Japanese form, Japanese businesses should attempt to move forward into the future with a leading edge approach to the challenges of modern corporate crisis management. Hosotsubo articulated six essential elements or functions which when coupled with an effective "Japanese-style" incident command system (ICS), provides the necessary framework for a seamless multi-faceted crisis management program. His objective is to establish an effective system, structure, and organization that can coordinate an immediate simultaneous response to the wide variety of needs/tasks in experienced in a modern corporate crisis.
During the three breakout sessions, six vendors provided informative technical presentations, including Computer Associates, EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Japan, Hitachi, and Japan Oracle.
Disaster Recovery Conference 2002 was officially sponsored by Nikkei BP Co., Ltd. who asked CMPO for assistance and arranging the special cooperation of the Disaster Recovery Journal. Nikkei BP is the computer publications subsidiary of the Nippon Economic Journal. They publish industry-leading magazines such as "Nikkei Computer," "Nikkei Information Strategy," and "Nikkei Open System."
"There was greater participation than we anticipated," said Shin Maruyama, the Nikkei representative in charge of the conference, "and the results of our follow-up questionnaire were also very positive."
The disaster recovery/business continuity industry has gotten off to a relatively late start in Japan, and there is a real need to pick up the pace. The Japanese D/R industry must accomplish in less than five years what took the United States 20 years or more to achieve.
Increased US/Japan collaboration will help achieve this worthy goal and the current Disaster Recovery Conference 2002 was a good step in the right direction. But, if the relationships of US companies in Japan can be leveraged with the relationships of Japanese companies in US, then there is a very real potential for new synergy that will strengthen the entire industry.
Years ago, I learned the expression, "What goes around comes around."
While those of us over here on this side of our little globe may still need a bit of help in preparing for our disasters, we are also willing to help you out with yours, and someday I hope we can.
Nathan Rhoden was born and raised in Japan, and has worked primarily for Japanese companies during his professional career around the world. Nathan currently works in Tokyo and has been on the Crisis Management and Preparedness Organization board of directors since 1999. CMPO is a membership driven non-profit organization whose primary mission is to increase the disaster awareness and preparedness of corporations in Japan. CMPO was conceived after the need for better information sharing and planning was made clear in the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Contact Rhoden by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large Crowd On Hand To Hear Giuliani’s Keynote Speach
CHICAGO – A standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 business continuity planning professionals packed the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Sept. 30 to listen to former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the keynote speaker at the 2002 Strohl Systems International User Group Conference.
Giuliani, the leader of New York’s recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, discussed his experiences and New York’s prior planning that helped mitigate the damage of the terrorist attacks.
“I can’t emphasize enough the value of preparation and continuity planning,” he said. “We have to assume we will be attacked again. (Terrorists) do not have the capacity to attack us every day. They can frighten us and terrorize us. We can fight it by being prepared and that is where continuity planning is valuable.”
Giuliani often used humor to keep the crowd attentive. In honor of Chicago’s notorious past, he began his speech with an imitation of Marlon Brando from “The Godfather” and, when asked about his future goals and political aspirations, he said he wants to be the manager of the New York Yankees.
“I think it was great to see someone of that caliber,” said John Conrad of the New York Teachers Retirement System. “It was a speech I wanted to hear. He was charismatic and made great points.”
Giuliani spoke for more than an hour and took questions from the audience at the end. He called Sept. 11, “The worst day, and the best day in many ways, in New York and American history.” He cautioned Americans not to over react to the threat of terrorism.
“Relax and calm down,” he said. “The risk of terrorism is just another risk we have to face.” He added that more Americans are killed by drunk drivers than by terrorists, but the risk of dying while walking across the street has not stopped Americans from going about their lives.
When asked if he thought it would be good idea to disperse the assets of Wall Street, Giuliani said, “Disperse out of Wall Street? That would be heresy.”
He did say the one thing he would change was the decision to use the Armory in lower Manhattan as the family center. According to Giuliani, the facility was dreary, overcrowded, and added to the family member’s grief. Officials eventually moved the facility to a pier on the Hudson River.
While Giuliani’s keynote was the highlight of the conference it was not the only news. Strohl announced the release of Incident Manager 2.0, a Web-enabled command center automation solution, as well as discussed the next generation of BCP software which includes a fully integrated suite of products.
The conference included almost 60 educational opportunities over the course of three days, but it was Giuliani who kept everyone talking as the conference wound down.
“He touched upon what was needed and what should be remembered in planning,” said Jamie Bachant of Lockheed Martin, and chairman of the Strohl User Group Advisory Board. “The core of his speech was most applicable to the audience.”
Next year’s Strohl Systems International User Group Conference will be held Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, 2003, in San Francisco.