While business continuity management and crisis management are not new concepts to the Swiss business community, they are assuming greater importance as the environment in which companies operate becomes increasingly challenging. Risks abound: Switzerland is not immune from the fallout of world events such as natural disasters, financial crises, terrorist threats, political turmoil and the outbreak of war on new fronts.
In today’s interconnected world, Switzerland’s businesses need to take a much wider view, looking beyond the boundaries of their own organisation, even across international borders, to protect critical products and services. This is why crisis management carries such great importance.
The Data Centre Risk Index 2013, a comprehensive study that examines a wide range of risk factors, reveals that Switzerland is no business utopia. Assessing criteria such as ease of doing business, water availability, political stability, sustainability, education and natural disasters, the report noted that even with the lowest rates of inflation and corporation tax, Switzerland has fallen out of the top ten due to a combination of lack of improvement in its international bandwidth capabilities and high labour costs.
Looking at cultural differences between nations, a recent survey confirms that there is a trend for CIOs of Swiss companies to be over-cautious. Swiss businesses see their highest priority as maintaining unbroken service – in contrast to their global peers who are focusing on innovation and implementing change. Switzerland’s CIOs are less likely than their international counterparts to have adopted new technologies such as cloud computing or be concerned with exploiting ‘big data’. They also outsource less of their IT infrastructure than is typical globally.
While a conservative approach is not inherently a negative, this tendency carries its own risks. For instance, it can make a rapid shift from a control to an innovation culture difficult. Switzerland’s business community may find it challenging to respond quickly to both threats and opportunities such as the growth of cloud computing, bring your own device (BYOD), the emergence of ‘big data’ and other trends. Swiss companies may also find it increasingly hard to attract top talent to work in a conventional, control-led organisation with a business culture that stifles innovation. See more on business assurance.
With an ever-changing risk landscape, even those businesses that cater solely for the domestic market must consider the impact of events far beyond Switzerland’s borders and ensure their business continuity (BC) plans take account of the consequences arising from global events. Equally, Switzerland’s business community must ensure it is not lagging behind emerging trends if it is to maintain a competitive advantage.
 Data Centre Risk Index 2013 – Source8, hurleypalmerflatt and Cushman & Wakefield
 CIO Trends 2013 – Deloitte Consulting AG
Find out more on global trends in business continuity.