Research into the Application of Business Continuity Management within a Telecommunications Company - Cranefield College

Research into the Application of Business Continuity Management within a Telecommunications Company

Author: Seff-Bin-Mubarak, Doreen
Supervisor: Professor Erik Schmikl
Date: March 2009

The growth of South Africa’s Information Communications and Technology sector depends on infrastructure development, coupled with progressive legislation and regulation. Compliance with The Cellular License Agreement and adherence to Corporate Governance are regarded as important drivers for Business Continuity Management within the industry. According to Raath (2006:1) “Business Continuity Management is a holistic management process that identifies potential impacts which threaten the organisation. Business Continuity Management also provides a framework for building resilience and the capability for an effective response which safeguards the interests of key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.” The threat of service interruptions and the need for organisations to respond to business continuity has manifested itself into the 21st century, due to increased regulatory requirements and business requirements from stakeholders which mandate organisations to present actionable Business Continuity Plans.

Business Continuity Management methodology outlines an organisation’s plan to facilitate critical business functions during a service disruption by providing acceptable levels of service to all stakeholders and ensuring business processes are restored within the required timescales. Business Continuity Management establishes good business practices that should be applied to add to the organisations resilience.

This dissertation proposes to research the application of Business Continuity Management within a Pan-African Cellular Communications Company. The researcher will endeavour to exemplify the Business Continuity Management programme as applied within the organisation with specific reference to the Credit and Risk business function. Credit and Risk operations entail integrated customer acquisition, debt management and the debt recovery. The dependency on complex Information Technology infrastructure coupled with prudent customer acquisition and debt collection policies are fundamental in achieving organisational objectives. Service disruptions to the division will result in the absence of critical information for effective decision making, unprocessed payments, loss of revenue, loss of market share to competitors and a decrease in productivity. Research will encompass aspects pertaining to Business Continuity Management methodology Business Continuity Planning and the Business Impact Assessment, covering core business functions, business critical systems and business processes within the Credit and Risk operating environment.

The organisational culture must emphasise risk management ensure that it is each employee’s responsibility to report, manage and mitigate risks. The research problem statement that will pertain to this dissertation reads as follows: “Business Continuity Management is not embraced by all employees and not entrenched into the organisation’s culture”.   The research question pertaining to this dissertation reads as, “How can sound Business Continuity practices be adopted throughout the organisation?”

The research objectives are as follows:

  • To understand the impact of Business Continuity practices.
  • To assess the implementation of Business Continuity Management within the telecommunications sector.
  • To appraise the telecommunications and regulatory environment in South Africa.

In support of the research question and objectives, the following investigative questions will be researched:

  • What is Business Continuity Management?
  • What is the value to the organisation in designing and deploying Business Continuity Management?
  • How should the organisation keep the Business Continuity Plans current?
  • What is the adverse impact of Business Continuity Management on the organisation?
  • How does the organisation nurture Business Continuity programs?

The proposed research will fall within the ambit of the social world utilising qualitative paradigms. The data collection method will constitute questionnaires. Structured and ‘unstructured’ questionnaires are preferred in order to gain relevant, pertinent information and to allow interviewees the opportunity to elaborate on aspects related to Business Continuity Business processes and Business Continuity risk management.

The proposed research will add value to the organisation as it will allow for a better understanding of Business Continuity Management principles and methodologies as applied within a cellular telecommunications company.

The efficacy of Business Continuity Planning depends on rehearsed and regular revision of plans to meet changing business needs, technologies and key stakeholder information. Business Continuity Management protects assets, brand, Information Technology system integrity and customer confidence. Business Continuity Management and Business Continuity Plans must be owned by all business units and should be the responsibility of all employees. To ensure successful implementation of Business Continuity Management across the organisation a culture of Business Continuity must be adopted and embedded within all levels of the organisation.