Unprecedented in terms of the speed, scale and spread of its impact across all sectors and all geographies, the Covid-19 crisis has shed a harsh light on businesses’ operational resilience and the robustness of the continuity planning that companies had in place. It has seen entire workforces furloughed or shifted to remote working and sweeping changes in the ways we communicate with our colleagues, suppliers and clients. It also raises the question of whether it is practical or even possible to have planning in place that is equal to a black swan event such as this.
“I don’t think in our wildest dreams we could have envisaged a business continuity planning scenario like this one,” says Hennie de Villiers, deputy CEO of Sanlam Personal Finance, headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. “We’d planned for a scenario where we might lose a building to a natural disaster, crime or terrorism. But now, with the lockdown, we’re at around 95% of our staff working from home.”
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