Earl Samuels, chief development financing officer at The Jamaica National Group, believes the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity for companies to implement business continuity planning and undertake risk assessments as a function in their business operations to become more resilient.
He stated that business continuity planning and risk analysis should be undertaken by companies going forward, to determine the various threats to their operations and identifying mitigation strategies.
“Many companies just operate, and there is no risk assessment of the business, or a continuity plan. Going forward, we have got to put that at the forefront of our business,” Mr Samuels informed.
Business continuity planning (BCP) involves creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function effectively in the event of a disaster. They include defining all the risks that can affect a company, making it an important part of the organisation’s risk management strategy. Risks may include natural disasters—fire, flood, or weather-related events—and cyber-attacks.
Mr Samuels was one of the presenters at the Proven Reit Iconic Live Series, a webinar held on social media, recently. The series was held under the theme: “Pivoting to Remain Viable in a Changing Landscape.”
He added that businesses were prone to various risks, from minor to potentially devastating; and the COVID-19 pandemic had brought this home forcefully.
“BCP has to be a part of your overall operations,” he outlined, “Just as how you budget every year, you have to do your continuity planning, looking at your risk management, examine trends within and outside of your industry, look at how they may affect your business and plan for them.”
He also added that, “Businesses face many challenges minor to impactful; and that is why the BCP is important, because they allow you to operate in the event of a disaster, while you implement your recovery plan, which should be a part of your BCP.”
In supporting Mr Samuels, Ms Aisha Campbell, chief executive officer, Proven Reit, said her company has been able to continue operating during COVID-19. She said that since the outbreak of the pandemic, her company has implemented several measures aimed at solidifying its own business continuity plan.
“When the pandemic began, we met and started to implement our business continuity plan, which was in line with what was happening. Moving forward, when we do our strategic planning, this is something that we will definitely take into consideration,” she affirmed.