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Volume 31, Issue 1

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Virtual Corporation’s President, Scott Ream said recently that "addressing the Year 2000 software bug has given management of many companies an opportunity to see first hand the value of disciplined Business Continuity Planning. However, the BCP profession still faces the challenge to take advantage of this current awareness level, leverage the results of Y2K-related business impact analyses and gain enterprise commitment to an on-going business continuity program. The DRJ Conference survey tells a mixed story; a few companies have embraced this leveraging approach which will carry them into the next millennium. Others see Y2K only as an anomaly to be solved, with lessons learned, to be discarded after the Millennium passes."

This survey (see page 36) seeks to measure the role performed by Business Continuity professionals in defining and implementing their company’s Year 2000 business protection program. Additional emphasis was placed on company readiness outside the Information Systems arena, "Beyond-I.S.", addressing embedded systems, supplier and customer exposures.

As with all statistics, these results are subject to interpretation. Readers are encouraged to review the questionnaire data on the following pages and come to their own conclusions.
Participant Profile

This Benchmark Survey was collected at the Disaster Recovery Journal Exposition in the Fall of 1998 in Orlando, Florida. Contingency Planning professionals and others attending the Exposition submitted a total of 522 surveys. Survey participants came from a wide variety of industries. While no single industry dominated this survey, the largest segment was in the "Financial, Banking and Insurance" area. Very large companies dominated the survey with (50%) of the respondents working for organizations with revenues greater than $1 Billion.

Information Systems continues to dominate as the primary "residence" for business continuity. Business Continuity staffing falls into two primary groups; companies with 1 to 5 dedicated resources (49%) and those with greater than 10 dedicated resources (25%), which is very likely due to Y2K considerations. A third of the participants report annual BCP budgets under $1 Million. (82%) percent of the total respondents said they have a dedicated Business Continuity Program while a disappointing (36%) said that Business Continuity is neither leading nor significantly participating in their Year 2000 program.

For most participants (78%), the Year 2000 Program Office is separate from their dedicated Business Continuity function although a (65%) majority said their BCP function either leads or participates in their Y2K program. While a vast majority (82%) of the companies are addressing their I.S. exposures, no more than (50%) are addressing all of the "Beyond-I.S." exposures; (49% - embedded systems; 48% - customers; 50% - suppliers). With regard to program completion by 1/1/2000, (6%) of the respondents expect not to complete their I.S. Y2K program on time and (10%) expect not to complete their "Beyond-I.S." program on time. While (2%) of the companies surveyed told us they have not taken any steps towards solving this issue, (12%) are already Year 2000 compliant and another (28%) are far enough along to be writing their contingency plans.

Business Continuity as a fundamental business discipline is still very young, less than 40 years old. Think how long we have sought to refine finance, marketing and other ‘mainstream’ business disciplines. The Y2K problem may offer us the opportunity to demonstrate just how valuable this discipline has become. Furthermore, Y2K has already provided a venue through which Business Continuity Planning is being further enhanced and matured.

Those companies, which have taken the Y2K threat seriously, are either finished or nearly complete with their remediation program and are now turning their attention to contingency planning. As an example, a client of ours has spent over $100 Million on Y2K remediation and feels they have done a good job. However, in their SEC disclosure they must include a statement that even after all of this work, ‘they may still be affected by an extended outage with serious financial impacts for their company’. This company is now devoting significant resources on a global contingency planning exercise, much of which is being leveraged off the analyses performed during their remediation activities.

As 1/1/2000 approaches, many companies will conclude that they cannot complete their remediation program in time. If they come to this conclusion too late, they may not have the time to execute an effective contingency planning program either. The severity of the Y2K threat is of course, still unknown. Time will tell whether the grasshopper or the ant used their time more wisely.

Virtual Corporation Profile

Virtual Corporation is a technology consulting services organization delivering solutions to its clients in a number of key areas: Business Continuity Planning, Business Process Improvement, I.S. Process Improvement, Technology Planning & Deployment and Technology Staffing Services. Our client base consists of medium to large corporations, including many of the Fortune 500, in a variety of industries including Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, and Utilities.

For more information on this survey or services provided by Virtual Corporation contact Michael Leyden at (973) 927-5454 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (800) 994-VIRT for callers outside N.J.