09 October 2006

Business Resilience: Asia Braces for a Nuclear North Korea...

What metaphor or symbol has your organization identified with to represent who you are or what you stand for? Some companies do this through their logo and others like Business Resilience Group (BRG) have done it with both.

BRG has chosen Bamboo, the Chinese symbol for resilience, as its logo as it embodies the key elements of our resilience framework and services.

Bamboo is the most versatile plant that is used for a vast range of purposes. Its leaves and shoots are used for food, and its stems can be utilized for sewing needles, writing implements, cooking utensils, furniture, for house and boat building, etc. Thus the many uses of the Bamboo plant represent its adaptiveness and are signified by the virtues of strength, uprightness, integrity and service. The Bamboo has long been regarded as a symbol of longevity due primarily to its resilience and ability to stay evergreen through the four seasons, especially during the adversity of the harsh winter months. The spiny bamboo, which signifies longevity and prosperity that lasts for generations, and the solid stemmed bamboo, which signifies a life free of illness and disease, are the varieties associated with good health.

The Bamboo is known to "bend without breaking" - like resilient organisations it exhibits Strength through flexibility.

We like the metaphor and agree that "adaptiveness" is a key attribute of a resilient organization. And the core ability to run your Information Technology (IT) department as a business is a challenge like no other. Running IT as a Business creates several questions all large enterprises are asking themselves on their respective quests to address their Business Resilience Adaptibility:

* How do IT strategic and operational plans relate to and support strategic line of business plans? Where is there conformity? Where are there gaps?

* How do IT strategic and operational plans guide IT business processes and performance improvement priorities? In other words, what does IT have to do better in the delivery of services it provides to meet the needs of the business? What is IT doing to shore up those gaps? How well is IT meeting its commitments related to service level agreements?

* How do IT project portfolios relate to strategic and operational plans? What is the cost of projects? What is the scope of the projects as it relates to the IT porfolio? How are the projects related to one another? Where are there strategies with no project support? Where are there projects with no strategy/ performance improvement objective to justify the effort?

* What are all elements of the IT technology portfolio - applications, data and infrastructure? How are all elements of the IT Portfolio related? How is this portfolio related to IT Services? What are the costs of whole categories such as Hardware, Licensing, Maintenance, Data Center, Network and Help Desk?

* What IT Portfolio elements support IT business processes, such as application development, service delivery, service support, configuration management and change management? What are the rolled up costs of these elements and how does this relate to the budgets?

* What IT Portfolio elements support the Business processes that make the Business run?

* How are current IT Portfolio elements being impacted by IT projects? Where are the dependencies?

* What is changing? What is our change profile? What are the growth patterns? What are the trends?

Yet Information Technology (IT) including communication systems is just one major facet of an organizations overall Business Resilience factor. What are you doing to simultaneosly address these components in your organization?

1. Essential functions and key personnel;
2. Vital records, communication systems and equipment;
3. Alternate work sites and relocation planning;
4. Training, testing, and exercises.

And today, this list has taken on a whole new urgency:

Outcry at N Korea 'nuclear test'

North Korea's claim that it has successfully tested a nuclear weapon has sparked international condemnation.

The White House called for a swift response from the UN Security Council, calling Pyongyang's move "provocative".

Japan and South Korea also condemned the test and even Pyongyang's closest ally China expressed its "resolute opposition", calling the move "brazen".

Diplomats say there will be an emergency Security Council meeting on the issue shortly.

The underground test, which South Korean media said took place in Gilju in Hamgyong province at 1036 (0136 GMT), has still to be confirmed.

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