Read and network. Vaishali Jain said both things will help young professionals in understanding the concepts and real-life applications of different aspects of business continuity. She suggested they also attend BCM conferences to give them an opportunity to learn more about the industry and meet experts who can guide them in their new career.
Jain is a senior program manager for business continuity management at ServiceNow. She lives in San Francisco and is based out of the Santa Clara headquarters.
She serves as the resident expert on all things BCM at ServiceNow. In her current role, she not only received the opportunity to build her own program, but she was also able to get support from leadership to adapt a more resilient culture as an organization.
Jain was introduced to business continuity during her consulting years with Deloitte where she learned BCM concepts, learned to understand how BCM works for different industries, and worked on a variety of projects where she could enhance her conceptual learning. Deloitte also supported her in getting her Certified Business Continuity Professional certification.
One thing which really excites Jain about her career is the concept of resiliency.
“I feel like I live it both in my professional and personal life,” she said.
Jain said preparing for disruptive events is important. However, there are times when professionals do not have a plan or can’t anticipate an event. She gave examples of the wildfires in Greenland and snow in Texas.
“What would help in these scenarios is understanding the concept of response and using it to prioritize critical recovery steps that would mitigate the impact,” she said.
Jain explained that building resiliency in the culture itself is important. “The key is not to panic. It is easy to say, but in my experience, I think organizations can get there with the right professional guidance and leadership support.”
Young professionals also face challenges they may have to overcome in the industry. As a beginner, one of Jain’s biggest challenges was to find the right source of information or guidance on BCM-related topics. She said because there is a plethora of information on the Internet, it is often difficult to find the right or most relevant source of information. Attending BCM-related conferences and networking with peers have helped Jain in understanding how and where she can find the most relevant BCM material.
Jain said her program is cross-functional by virtue of which she works with different business functions and departments. The one communication guideline which she always follows is not to assume stakeholders know about business continuity or her role. She always begins meetings or conversations with a quick brief on BCM and sets aside some time to learn about the business department or stakeholder’s role.
“Building a mutual understanding of the BCM program and department function goes a long way,” she said. “It not only helps in structuring future conversations with the stakeholders but also helps in effective implementation of the BCM program.”
Jain said her BCM journey would be incomplete without her mentors. She was fortunate to have some exemplary mentors who guided, supported, and shared their experiences with her. They have motivated her to go out of her comfort zone to try new things. She frequently meets with them and discusses some of the things which she is doing in the field. These people have always provided her with great feedback which has helped her in advancing her career.
As for changes in the industry, Jain feels BCM programs need to adapt to the ever-changing world by becoming more technology-friendly. Technology apps have made things easier. From booking a ride to ordering food or paying a friend instantly, technology has made many things easier. Jain thinks BCM needs something like this.
“I know we have some existing apps on the market but in my experience, the adoption rate for these apps is low,” she said. “My ideal app would be one-stop dynamic resiliency app where you get all the information when needed.”
Jain received her CBCP certification in 2017 and is currently preparing for her Master Business Continuity Professional certificate. She also reads much industry news and attends conferences to update her skills. She is part of the Business Recovery Managers Association in the Bay area. She is also planning to participate in the BCM mentor programs and offer webinars on different business continuity topics in the future.