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Top five lessons learnt from the FIFA 2010 World Cup

ContinuitySA shares lessons learnt with downloadable brochure.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a resounding success and all South Africans were able to bask in six weeks of enjoyable madness. As much as the event was a success, there were months and years of preparation beforehand that ensured it all ran smoothly.

“We should all take pride in the success of the World Cup, this was the first event of this size the country has hosted and there were many lessons learned,” says Louise Theunissen, GM Consulting Services at ContinuitySA. “More than simply enjoying the success, it's important to document the lessons learned in order to be better prepared for similar events in the future, such as the Olympic Games.”

As one of the companies involved in preparing businesses for any potential disasters that may have occurred during the event, ContinuitySA has produced a list of best practices learned in the process of protecting its clients' businesses during the games. These lessons are a starting point for companies looking to ensure their business continuity during future events.

Xhead = Preparation

“From a business perspective, many saw the World Cup as a non-event in terms of disasters because nothing happened,” says Theunissen. “The reason nothing happened was due to the preparations companies made in the run-up to the games.”

There are companies that did not prepare for potential problems in time and weren't able to test alternate strategies. Some companies experienced supply chain problems because they did not prepare different routing options around areas that were off-limits.

Ensuring the planning commences in good time, is managed by skilled resource and has the level of executive commitment required, will provide the stable foundation for successful implementation.

Xhead = Communications

Key to any business continuity strategy is communications, both internally within a company and externally to clients, partners and the public in general. It is critical to have the processes in place to ensure the correct information is disseminated to all stakeholders.

Key to communications, of course, is having access to relevant and accurate information. Open collaboration between businesses, government and the organisers is crucial to ensure the correct information is available and communicated. Without this open collaboration, rumours will abound, which will hamper the effective restoration of operations when real disasters strike.

Xhead = Sustainable changes

While businesses were focused on implementing business continuity strategies for the World Cup specifically, these plans are applicable for the long-term and will keep the company operational in any emergency. That is, as long as they are maintained and not forgotten along with the excitement of the soccer. Applying what was learned will ensure any disasters in future will be easier to handle.

Xhead = Collaboration

When one business tries to make a point, it is rarely heard unless it is a global enterprise. But when many businesses stand together, they have the critical mass to be heard at all levels. The companies involved in ContinuitySA's Continuity2010 steering committee were able to work together and address various problems during the World Cup, as well as interact with the organisers.

“At the suggestion of members, we have decided to keep the committee going to address other crucial issues businesses and consumers in South Africa face, such as the water table issue,” adds Theunissen. “As a collective, we have more access to local and national government and can find ways to address problems the country still faces.”

Xhead = Knowledge sharing

While different companies had different activities before, during and after the event, having a common platform to share their experiences enabled all participants to learn from each other without making the same mistakes. It's also important to share knowledge between divisions within companies to ensure the whole organisation maintains a consistent level of disaster preparedness.

The platform for knowledge sharing must be operational before and during the event, as well as afterwards when closure analyses can be run to determine the starting point for future events.

The lessons learned from the World Cup will not ensure a perfect response to future disasters, but applying them to Business Continuity strategies will ensure companies are better prepared to deal with events by learning from past experiences.

For a more detailed analysis of these lessons learnt, download a free brochure from



ContinuitySA is Africa's leading provider of business continuity management and related services. The company boasts some of the continent's most highly skilled and qualified business continuity and disaster management experts who help companies, organisations and government departments of all sizes prepare for and deal with all eventualities. These include potential threats, events, incidences and unforeseen or sudden disruptions due to human error or natural events.

ContinuitySA also provides a variety of hosting solutions, ranging from co-located to fully managed virtualised environments, with their primary focus being to ensure its clients are able to address the resilience and recoverability of their IT services. These hosting services are complemented by managed backup and recovery services, virtual server replication and high availability solutions to satisfy any level of continuity requirement.

ContinuitySA operates the largest recovery facilities in southern Africa. It has a number of recovery centres in southern Africa with over 20 000 square metres of recovery facilities in Midrand, Gauteng. Smaller sites have been located in Cape Town, Gaborone, Botswana and Mozambique, and a joint venture has been established in Mauritius.

ContinuitySA. Our business is keeping you in business. Additional information about ContinuitySA can be found at