When the modern Olympic Games began in the late 1800’s, most firms didn’t concern themselves with business continuity planning. In fact, I’m willing to bet my knickers that the term BCP wasn’t even coined then. Cars were just starting to gain momentum – both literally and figuratively speaking – around the same time so you can imagine that traffic wasn’t a major issue during the games either.
Fast forwards to the 21st century. My, how the times have changed. During this year’s Olympics in London, over 11 million spectators and 300,000 athletes and officials are expected to attend the six week event. That’s a 37,567% increase in audience since the first game held in Greece!
Undoubtedly, the game has evolved over the decades, but most firms’ business continuity plans have remained a bit antiquated. The interest in business continuity for financial trading floors fluctuates depending on recent business interruption events, including those that are man-made, natural, planned, and unplanned. Perhaps it’s basic human psychology to only focus on this when we have to – or at least every time the Olympic games are in town.
In order to keep businesses up and running, and traders trading, London-based companies are being urged by the Mayor of London to consider how to plan for expected congestion causing employees to arrive late for work, as well as unexpected transport failure (terrorist alerts, etc.) preventing employees from getting to work. With sustainability as the guiding theme for the event organizers, the London 2012 vision is: “use the power of the Games to inspire change.” With that in mind, all spectators are requested to use public transport, walk or cycle to events; many roads will be reserved for Olympic vehicles only. In fact, there has been a £6.5 billion investment in transport upgrades leading up to the Games. But even with these additional enhancements, bottlenecks, delays and breakdowns are bound to occur.
Since global capital markets must continue operating business-as-usual, losing access to trading tools, clients, and counter parties means lost opportunities, increased risk, and potentially substantial loss of revenue. Hence London-based traders are considering all available alternatives to minimize any interruption.
1. Trading from home is a real alternative. Market data and trading applications can easily be accessed over a secure network connection, and connectivity is available to counter parties through the use of soft turret options. Recording of calls continues as usual in all three options described here.
2. Trading from another office, outside of London and the main congestion areas is also an option. Assuming networks and systems are up and running, traders can take advantage of other offices to continue trading as usual. Applications and market data can be easily provisioned, and IP based trading turrets can be connected to the network just like PC’s, connecting back into the main office where the backroom system and lines are located.
3. Some firms have set up (and are setting up) dedicated “disaster recovery” sites for traders and other users, so critical personnel have a ready-made solution when this type of an event occurs. Disaster recovery sites can be configured with all the tools necessary for traders to continue to trade, even in the event that a major disruption occurs at the main location. This is the most comprehensive, and the most costly of the three options described here.
All of these solutions have a goal of ensuring traders have uninterrupted access to their market data, order management/execution software, communication tools, and connectivity.
Let’s face it, London has seen its share of recent disruptions: from the devastating 7/7 bombings to the Royal Wedding. But come what may, because with a business continuity plan in place, you too can confidently say, “Let the games begin.”