Demand for WAR (Work Area Recovery) is reducing year on year according to the majority of Business Continuity professionals I meet.
On the face of it this makes sense as new technology empowers workplace mobility the need to physically convene in the same office becomes less and less relevant. As the office estate becomes less relevant to the success of a business then the budget allocated to Work Area Recovery can be reduced. Follow this train of thought to its logical conclusion and the future of the Work Area Recovery market looks pretty bleak. Right?
As a leading independent WAR specialist I have never been more positive about the outlook for the global market. I do concede that WAR provision will look markedly different ten years from now and some of the established (legacy) WAR providers may well struggle with the transition due to the inflexibility of their real estate.
Here is my analysis of why I am so bullish about the future of the global Work Area Recovery market:
For most knowledge businesses people are the most important asset. The net result of those people coming together with a shared purpose is value creation. This is why organisations commit such significant financial resource to their office environments. The assumption that the default reaction to losing an office for a prolonged period will be to implement a blanket homeworking policy is impractical for most businesses (watch out for my upcoming blog on home based recovery strategies)
Increasing dependency on virtual desktops and SaaS solutions for critical processes drive the need for reliable, secure and high speed connectivity. Connectivity is not usually a problem in the office environment but the same cannot always be said of residential (contended) broadband or the WiFi hotspot in the local coffee house.
Information & Physical Security
Security breaches are hitting the headlines on a daily basis. As a result organisations are tightening their security arrangements and considering closely which systems and processes can be accessed from potentially ‘insecure’ locations and devices. The value of an enclosed and private ‘company’ office space cannot be underestimated – especially in a highly pressured business recovery situation.
In response to new technology and globalisation businesses are outsourcing more of their critical processes. Supply contracts are forcing sometimes onerous resilience commitments down the supply chain which in turn drives smaller WAR requirements into the market.
The overwhelming trend in corporate real estate right now is towards consolidation, de desking, mobility and collaboration. The net result from a WAR perspective is that businesses have less of their own capacity/sites to employ for intra site recovery purposes which drives new requirements into the WAR market.
Increasing reliance on offshore critical process delivery is driving the need for Work Area Recovery in traditionally under served locations (in the past few years I have delivered WAR solutions for clients in countries such as Colombia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Argentina and Malta)
Different business interruption scenarios will ideally drive different (dynamic) recovery responses. For example the ideal response to a local disruption will be a local recovery whereas a wide area incident that affects transportation (such as Hurricane Sandy) may necessitate a near home distributed recovery response. Dynamic recovery is driving demand for network based WAR contracts as opposed to the traditional single site ‘one size fits all’ approach.
As the demand picture for Work Area Recovery changes, new business models and suppliers will emerge. The net result over time will be a reduction in pricing for recovery capacity. A good example of this trend is the emergence of global office provider Regus as a serious contender in the WAR market (by way of disclosure I designed launched and ran the global WAR business for Regus in a past life) I am now personally involved with a number of innovative projects that will see significant additional recovery capacity launched onto the market over the coming year.
So to summarise, WAR is not over – it is just beginning.
Please let me know what you think about the future of Work Area Recovery or if you need any help with reviewing your current WAR strategy and supply arrangements please give me a call +44 (0)7463 629132 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org