Over the past eighteen months, many business continuity professionals learned of a new term – management system. First introduced to many of us in British Standard (BS) 25999 as a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS), the concept continues to gain traction in our profession through a number of draft organizational resilience-related standards authored by the International Standards Organization (ISO), as well as a new American standard whose development is currently being facilitated by ASIS International.
Although widely used in other professional disciplines for many years (e.g. quality, environmental, and occupational health and safety management), the term “management system” is a relatively new concept to business continuity professionals. So what is a management system? A management system is the framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all tasks required to achieve a set of related business objectives. Management system standards provide a model for setting up and operating a management system. The purpose of this perspective is to introduce the management system concept and offer reasons why this relatively simple concept can be a powerful tool in capturing and keeping management’s support for a business continuity program.