IBM to Help Companies Determine Pandemic Preparedness

IBM Combines Consulting and Technology Expertise to Aid Advanced Planning for Businesses of All Sizes

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ARMONK, NY - 06 Jun 2006: IBM today unveiled its Contingency Planning Assessment (CPA), aimed at helping businesses understand their potential exposure to a pandemic outbreak, and implement strategies to safeguard employees and maintain operations should such an outbreak occur. The first-of-its-kind assessment can be deployed with small businesses, as well as a large global operation with multiple sites, and will be available later this month.

The new IBM service will provide an independent review of an organization's pandemic response program based on industry best practices, government, World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and the decades of experience of IBM's crisis response team in managing actual disaster situations. CPA also helps clients identify gaps and develop action plans to mitigate exposures.

In the event of a pandemic outbreak, businesses may face situations in which many of its employees will be unable to work. According to the US Pandemic Implementation Plan, should a pandemic occur, employers should assume that up to 40 percent of their staff will be absent for periods of two weeks or longer. Multiple waves of infections could last between two and three months.

Among the potential challenges business will face:

-- Disruption of international and national infrastructures, including travel and transportation restrictions -- Government-ordered reduction of people at non-essential places of employment -- National authorities could take control of critical supplies and professionals needed for pandemic response activities -- Supplies of materials needed for ongoing business may be disrupted, as transportation may be curtailed -- Availability of services from partners and sub-contractors may be limited, as they may face the same human resource constraints as other businesses -- Demand for services may be impacted as customers adapt behaviors to respond to the pandemic

"Business Risk management is all about preparing for exposure to risk -- and a pandemic is like any other major risk," said Philippe Jarre, vice president, Global Business Continuity & Resiliency Services, IBM. "It is critical for organizations to understand how they could be impacted, to consider different options to keep employees working safely, and to ensure continued connections with suppliers and customers. Any investments made now will only serve to benefit the competitiveness of the business in the future."

According to the Lowy Institute for International Policy, a pandemic could cost the world between 8% and 12% of economic output -- up to $US4.4 trillion.

IBM Contingency Planning Assessment (CPA)

CPA will provide an initial assessment of an organization's pandemic preparedness by reviewing areas such as: pandemic communication and education plans for employees and customers; human resource planning and monitoring; employee impact and mitigation plans; proximity to healthcare facilities; supply chain impact and mitigation plans; government interface plans; linkages to crisis and business continuity plans; business function and location-specific impact; IT, network, security and workplace infrastructure continuity; and resource identification and tracking.

CPA goes well beyond preparing an organization to face a specific threat. While CPA has a specific focus on understanding the impact of a pandemic -- especially the human factors -- it also considers overall disaster preparedness. The plans and procedures will be applicable for many events that threaten workers, including hurricanes, power outages and earthquakes, for example.

CPA is the first step to achieving a broader understanding of the potential impact of a pandemic outbreak across all facets of an organization. Beyond the assessment, IBM has developed deep expertise, and a range of services to address the specifics of preparing for a pandemic incident including human capital, supply chain and business risk management.

Details and Pricing

-- Contingency Planning Assessment for Small and Medium Businesses has a range of $10,000 to $35,000. This offering is a high-level review of the client's vulnerabilities and assumes less complexity. -- Contingency Planning Assessment for Enterprises is priced between $50,000 and $150,000. This offering allows for greater complexity and multiple sites.

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