Take a look inside BCI World Hybrid 2023
In 2023, organizations are looking to survive and thrive amongst an ever-evolving landscape of risks and threats that test not only their supply chain, cyber, and climate resilience, but many other critical aspects of operation.
BCI World Hybrid 2023 was held on 1st - 2nd November with both physical and virtual events dedicated to helping organizations not only meet these challenges, but emerge more resilient as a result. In all, it was the BCI’s biggest event since the pandemic and saw more than 1,000 delegates across both event formats.
The two-day physical event was held in London, UK, and featured keynote sessions, industry case studies, panel discussions, a series of workshops, as well as a large vendor exhibition. The virtual conference ran alongside the physical event and featured live-streamed keynotes and breakouts, which were recorded and available on demand, as well as a virtual exhibition and networking stream.
BCI Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) Edition 7.0 launch
Before the main conference programme, the BCI launched the new BCI Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) Edition 7.0 at a special event on 31st October. There was a fantastic turnout for the launch, showing the huge amount of interest in the latest version of this essential document .
“I was really pleased to see GPG Edition 7.0 being launched on the eve of BCI World. The new GPG is the voice of members as the technical advisory groups (TAGs) and working groups were all BCI members (17 FBCIs, 17 MBCIs,
and 2 AMBCIs). The document that they put together was peer-reviewed several times by BCI members and signed off by representatives of the BCI Board, while all the members involved in this project are practitioners and/or consultants.
The work on the GPG began in October 2021 and it has come together only due to the concerted effort of the dedicated BCI members who were involved in this project,” said Samhita Ganguly, acting head of learning, BCI.
Over the last month, the BCI has also released a series of articles to highlight some of the key revisions within the new GPG which can all now be accessed. In addition, delegates to the conference also had the opportunity to attend a GPG ‘lunch ‘n’ learn’ session with Michael Crooymans FBCI (Hon). This was designed as an informal session where attendees could find out more about the new version of the GPG and ask questions about the revisions within.
The main conference programme for BCI World 2023 was opened by Heather Merchan MBCI, chair of the board, who welcomed delegates to the event. Following this, a comprehensive conference programme was held and bookended by keynote sessions to start and close each day. This section will explore how these keynotes picked up and highlighted some of the main themes of both the conference programme and in the wider world of resilience.
The first keynote session of the conference was delivered by Alexis Conran who spoke on the methods used by fraudsters to scam organizations and individuals out of money and information. This is a particularly important area for resilience professionals to consider in the current environment as current BCI research shows the increased role of social engineering in the cyber threat landscape. Indeed, social engineering was ranked as the fourth most disruptive type of cyber incident for organizations in the past twelve months. Alexis Conran, an expert in the subject, spoke about how scammers seek to psychologically manipulate individuals, as well as how organizations can identify this threat. Looking forward, this is expected to remain a concern: the BCI Cyber Resilience Report 2023 highlighted how social engineering attacks are intrinsically tied to large-scale emotional shocks, with events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict, and even natural disasters increasing vulnerability to this type of attack.
Indeed, the recent BCI Horizon Scan has shown how cyber-attacks are dominating the risk landscape for organizations and the BCI World programme provided a host of resources for organizations looking to build resilience to this threat. This included a workshop suggesting how organizations can handle communications after being hit by a ransomware attack, a panel discussion exploring the pro-active measures that cyber resilience brings, as well as an interesting case study on how an NHS trust recovered after an advanced cyber-attack.
Concluding the first day, Brian Zawada, VP of Strategy at Riskonnect, spoke about how change is coming to the business continuity profession. Brian summarised many of the changes that have taken place within the past few years, but the focus of his session explored the core outcomes delivered by business continuity and operational resilience and how the profession will undergo a rapid transformation in the coming years in terms of people, processes, and technology.
For the first keynote of the second day, Michele Turner FBCI, Vice President of Business Continuity at Marriott International, discussed her own PARSE methodology — Prepare, Assess, Remediate, Sustain, and Examine — and how it can apply to both organizations and our personal lives. The use of Michele’s stories from her personal life highlighted the link between personal and professional, and the importance of integrating the lessons learned from one into those applicable for the other as well. From the BCI’s recent Horizon Scan report, the ongoing importance of personal resilience is clear, since the top three disruptions for organizations in 2023 all involved the human factor (health incident, safety incident, and the increased cost of living).
Showcasing the increasing awareness of the importance of personal resilience was a theme returned to within other areas of the conference programme. A panel discussion explored how resilience within an organization starts on a personal level by tracking the journey of the practitioner and examining how they can increase their sphere of influence to get the commitment of senior leadership on board with the BC programme. Elsewhere, another workshop explored how an individual’s soft skills can build personal and organizational resiliency, as well as the top skills required to be successful in this sector. This is another area explored by the BCI Continuity and Resilience Report 2023, which highlighted the importance of people skills for practitioners for engaging trust and removing organizational silos.
The final keynote of the event was delivered by Dr Kevin Fong, a science broadcaster and Helicopter Emergency Medical System (HEMS) doctor, who spoke on his experience of being seconded to NHS England during the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons learned from the experience. As BC and resilience practitioners are aware, the pandemic has provided many opportunities for learning within organizations. One of the many insights explored by Kevin was the finding that large-scale incidents, such as the pandemic, require a more facilitative method of leadership. This method means supporting and, more importantly, empowering individuals in the team to reach shared goals, with the role of leadership being to guide and instill a process which can be followed.
Thought Leadership/Membership streams
Aside from the keynote sessions and breakout rooms, the BCI also held its own streams managed by its Thought Leadership and Membership departments. These streams were open to all interested delegates, thereby creating an inclusive space for knowledge sharing.
This section looks at how the aims of these sessions were designed to support delegates by speaking with the teams directly involved in their creation.
Thought Leadership stream
The sessions in the Thought Leadership stream were designed in an open forum set-up to allow practitioners to engage in conversations with industry peers, while also gaining insight into regional dynamics and exploring different outlooks of how the business continuity and resilience fields are evolving.
The topics for discussions were as wide-ranging as looking at how technology has the potential to increase resilience, as well as some of the dangers it poses, alongside exploring how other organizations are preparing for and handling the rise in extreme weather.
Through these sessions, the team aimed to incentivise discussion and reflection on different topics within business continuity and resilience. The team also aimed to include organizations and professionals that were not part of the main event, but wanted to be part of the discussion around important business continuity and resilience topics such as climate change, horizon scanning, supply chain, and financial regulation.
The Thought Leadership team designed the programme to appeal to a global audience by including discussions on issues that affect us all. Perhaps demonstrating the benefits of getting involved in research, many of the speakers who delivered a session in the Thought Leadership stream had already participated in BCI research through surveys, interviews, or as panellists at the launch events of BCI research reports. The team also selected some speakers that were part of the main event, who kindly gave their time to participate in the research room and provide a different perspective.
The final session was dedicated to exploring how to get involved in research. Going forward, the team is keen to engage with anyone who may have something to contribute to the field. The team also plans to partner with other organizations to provide more research content for our members and are eager to work with academic institutions and scholars via the BCI’s Research Foundation. The BCI is providing the bridge between the academic world and industry, with insights into a fast-evolving discipline via ongoing primary research projects.
The aim and objectives of the membership stream at BCI World Hybrid 2023 were to highlight the benefits and opportunities of being a member of the BCI. Its main goal was to motivate and empower current and potential members to advance their careers by understanding the value of the newly launched BCI Mentoring initiative, the significance of community, networking with peers, and learning how to contribute to the resilience community. As such, the stream provided an avenue for members and non-members to ask any questions regarding certification through membership.
To achieve these goals, the team created a programme that included presentations and workshops delivered by BCI staff, board members, chapter leaders, and volunteers. During these sessions, they shared their experiences and provided insights on how to maximize the benefits of BCI membership. The team also highlighted the latest developments and initiatives of the BCI, such as the new mentoring programme and the membership criteria for certification. The stream was available on both days of the conference, covering different sessions and topics each day.
The membership stream received positive feedback from attendees, with both members and non-members finding value in learning how others leveraged their membership to grow professionally, understand membership criteria, and upgrade their membership. The varied and high-quality sessions, engagement with speakers and participants, and practical information provided were also appreciated. Members expressed satisfaction in being part of the BCI community and speakers found it rewarding.
Our goal is to continue offering the membership stream in future BCI World events and enhance it based on the valuable feedback and suggestions received from the delegates. The team aims to expand the programme to cover topics that are valuable to both members and non-members. Our vision is that the membership stream will become a regular and popular feature of BCI World, which will help the BCI attract and retain more members as well as strengthen the BCI community.
Global Awards Ceremony
BCI World Hybrid also saw the return of an in-person BCI Global Awards ceremony, held on the night of 1 November. The event was an opportunity to celebrate those who have given back to the sector in extraordinary ways.
The awards began by recognizing those who have recently passed the CBCI exam with exceptional marks, before highlighting distinguished industry professionals with honorary FBCIs, hall of fame entries, and lifetime achievement awards.
The main categories reflected those individuals and organizations who have made exceptional achievements in the global sector this year, with awards going to organizations for impressive recoveries while individual practitioners were also highlighted for extraordinary efforts in 2023.
The full list of winners is available here
The BCI would like to thank all of those who attended BCI World 2023 this year and looks forward to welcoming back both experienced practitioners and newcomers to the industry in due course.