Interview with Tim Wasle
We spoke to Tim Wasle, Lead Service Manager at T-Systems International about the importance of business continuity and strategic direction during a pandemic. Tim has helped ZOIS develop new guidelines that will prepare the association and the wider IT industry for future crises.
ZOIS: Hi, Tim, thanks for your time and giving us the opportunity to gain an insight into business continuity management. The piece you wrote for ZOIS is not really a chapter, but rather a significant episode. How did you start working on it?
Tim: The COVID-19 experience encouraged me to consider the idea about how business continuity in the pandemic situation could have been managed. Also, it made me think about the right understanding of ITIL Version 3. This was the starting point. We have realised that there are practically no guidelines for the business continuity process during a pandemic. We then brought together a lot of ideas and tried to make it readable and understandable for somebody who was interested in the process. That’s how we started.
ZOIS: Thank you. When you look into companies, they moved into a home office scenario within days. I know from a big corporation in Ghana, they boosted the bandwidth by 200% or 300% per user to ensure that business is up and running. Is this based on business continuity management, that people had ready for such a situation?
Tim: I think companies that were prepared in general to work in a distributed way, had it much easier and therefore were better prepared, regardless if that was down to planning or by accident. I can’t say, as I think it is very different from one company to another.
ZOIS: What were the three most difficult topics you focused on when putting together the guidelines?
Tim: As mentioned earlier, we had a lot of ideas but we couldn’t initially get them connected to stories somebody can read. That was the biggest problem we had initially. We decided to start from the beginning, explaining who needs to make the right decisions so the board of directors provide the strategic direction to plan for such an event. Based on that they guide the organisation to prepare for it. The better they are prepared, the better they can respond.
ZOIS: Okay, thank you. Can you mention a corporation that did it really well? An example where there were well-prepared steps that were executed in an efficient manner.
Tim: Yes, I think my company was pretty well prepared and up-to-speed. I know of some other companies as well, who were very quick in making the right decisions, but I can’t really single them out.
ZOIS: Of course. There were also companies that did not do so well and had big issues working remotely. What would you tell those companies to do better? They all could read the entire guidelines of course but if you had to highlight the most important points to improve their business continuity management, what would these be?
Tim: Yes, I think most importantly you need to think about what the limiting factors are. A pandemic is one of them, but there could be another kind of crises. So in the limiting factor of a pandemic you don’t have a workforce, or you don’t have working capabilities onsite. These are the things you need to think about and therefore, prepare for the next time. I think in many countries in Europe the difficulties were most visible in the school system. They were not prepared and considered e-learning as a restricting option, keeping class-schooling the priority. Therefore they never prepared for real remote working or schooling.
ZOIS: Yes, that’s a very interesting point Tim. Thank you for sharing with us your view and introducing us to the new content in the ZOIS Standard. Thank you also for your work in putting the guidelines together.
Tim: Thank you.