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Information Technology Business Continuity

Information Technology Business Continuity
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Author(s): Vincenzo Morabito (Bocconi University, Italy) and Gianluigi Viscusi (University of Milano, Italy)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch316

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Abstract

Continuity could be and should be strategic for the business competitive advantage. Besides natural disaster, from blackout to tsunami, businesses face in daily activities critical challenges in IT management for assuring business continuity; for example, business continuity management results must be strategic, because of the infrastructural, organizational, and information systems changes that are required to assure compliance with regulatory norms (see, e.g., the impact of Basel II norms in financial sector), or must have and maintain a time-to-market advantage (disasters can facilitate competitors in a first mover perspective). Nevertheless, business continuity is at present often synonymous with risk management at the IT level, disaster recovery at the hardware level, or in the best case?at the data management level?with data quality management. These perspectives fail to unveil the strategic value of IT business continuity as a framework assuring alignment of strategy, organization, and systems, allowing a competitive advantage in a dynamic competitive environment. Moreover, even when business continuity, under these perspectives, has become one of the most important issues in IT management, there still appears to be some discrepancy as to the formal definitions of what precisely constitutes a disaster, and there are difficulties in assessing the size of claims in the crises and disaster areas. Taking these issues into account, we propose: (a) an analysis of the different facets of the concept of business continuity, and (b) an integrated framework for strategic management of IT business continuity. To these ends, we move from the finance sector?a sector in which the development of information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) have had a key impact upon competitiveness. Indeed, banking industry IT and IS are considered “production,” not “support” technologies. The evolution of IT and IS has challenged the traditional ways of conducting business within the finance sector. These changes have largely represented improvements to business processes and efficiency but are not without their flaws, in as much as business disruption can occur due to IT and IS sources. The greater complexity of new IT and IS operating environments requires that organizations continually reassess how best they may face changes and exploit these later for organizational advantage. As such, IT and IS have supported massive changes in the ways in which business is conducted with consumers at the retail level. Innovations in direct banking would have been unthinkable without appropriate IS, and merger and acquisition (M&A) initiatives represent the ideal domain to show what value can lead strategic management of IT business continuity. Taking these issues into account, we point out the relevance of continuity for maintaining customers, and time-to-market in complex and evolutionary competitive environments. Due the relevance of IT to maintain a valueadded continuity, our contribution aims to clarify the concept of IT business continuity, providing a framework, exploiting the different facets that it encompasses, and showing the strategic implications to the field of IS&T.

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