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DRI’s Global Risk and Resilience Trends Report: What’s Your Role in the Organization?

January 17, 2019 Leave a comment DRI Admin

The DRI International Global Risk and Resilience Trends Report provides a global perspective and comprehensive trends analysis of how resilience professionals view their industry and the external factors that are shaping it. One important question: who is considered a resilience professional – and who do they report to?

In this year’s report, the DRI Future Vision Committee wanted to get a more detailed perspective of how professionals view their own and related professions. The first challenge was to determine the actual specialist discipline of the survey participants. Due to myriad titles, some interpretation had to be made, but where it was possible the primary specialization was broken down into BC/DR/crisis, emergency, risk, security, IT/telecoms, facilities, health and safety, and compliance/audit. All of these can be classified as important components of achieving overall organizational resilience.

Additionally, the actual departments that the various resilience professionals worked in was analyzed.

It would have been expected that these two sets of figures would be approximately the same, and that is the case except in one vital area – the number of business continuity specialists who did not work in a formal BC department. The figures clearly indicate that they report into risk management or security – the two departments with a significantly higher percentage than that predicted by the job titles. The implication must be that the independent BC business process is gradually being brought into other departments.

Despite efforts to get all these functions integrated into a resilience management function, it now looks as if risk management or security are the most-likely future homes for many BC specialists. One of the reasons why business continuity may struggle to get more corporate attention is confusion about its role and responsibilities. This is not helped by the vast number of different titles given by different organizations to cover the same or similar roles. Part of this is simply reporting levels (VP, director, manager, coordinator, officer, analyst, executive) which are prefixed by BC, BCM, DR, and occasionally resilience. However, different organizations use different terminology such as ITDR, DR/BC, operational risk, resiliency, continuity, contingency, crisis, and now some are adding enterprise BC and resilience.

Despite the general acceptance that resilience is a critical and key business aspiration, only a small proportion of organizations have adopted it as the default term for an overarching discipline. When it has been adopted, it is still very often only another name for traditional business continuity and does not encompass risk and security. To some degree, we can get a picture of the status of resilience professionals by analyzing where individual practitioners report.

Given the numerous titles and the variation in the meaning of such titles across different organizations, some level of interpretation of the survey results was needed. All that are unclear have been excluded. Where possible, the levels of reporting have then been categorized into a) C-Suite executive, b) functional VP or director, and c) middle manager. On this simple basis, the reporting split is:

  • C-Suite Executive – 29%
  • Functional VP or Director – 35%
  • Middle Manager – 36%

Where the response is middle manager, however, this is often to the BC manager (or equivalent); therefore the overall function will report to a more senior individual such as a functional VP or director. As we do not have any prior year comparisons, it is not possible to assess if this is an improving trend. However, this looks to be a reasonable distribution and certainly does not support the popular claim that BC and resilience professionals have no access to senior management.

Another common argument is that the resilience community is too silo-based and has little or no overlap or joint understanding of problems. Our figures shown no real basis for this claim. All responders were asked to rate their opinion of the levels of cooperation they get from and give to other resilience-related groups in their organization. They were able to score 1 to 4 (poor to excellent), excluding their own departmental colleagues. Here is how each sub-group was rated by its peers on level of cooperation:

This indicates a high degree of cooperation among all the main resilience departments, and shows no evidence of a strong silo mentality between risk and business continuity. Perhaps, the nature of the survey, which is issued by the leading BC certification body, influenced the results somewhat. It would be interesting to explore this in more detail with a wider risk management participation.

Additional Resources:

You can download the complete Fourth Annual Risk and Resilience Trends Report from the DRI Resource Library (log in with your free DRI account).

Hear more about this report – as well as predictions for 2019 – at the Future Vision Committee session at DRI2019 in Las Vegas Feb. 17-20.

The library

The library also features a variety of downloadable presentations from speakers at our annual and regional conferences on communicating with executives and other departments and keys to gaining and maintaining buy-in.

Keep up to date with resilience news – follow us on DRIVE, our blog and b-weekly e-newsletter, and follow us on social media:

As a globally recognized certification organization, DRI provides education and credentials for resilience professionals in many sectors, including:

Click here for our 2019 course list, or call 866-542-3744.

Our webinar series covers many of the major issues featured in the report. Recent presentations include:

  • GDPR
  • Cyber-Resilience
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Compliance and Regulations
  • Internet of Things
  • Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Response


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