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BP recovery plan thinks on its feet.


Don't write your disaster plan as a manual," advises Don Miller, manager of technical support and service for BP America.

"It'll sit on the shelf and gather dust," Miller says.

"A multi-volume document is a waste of time, energy, and money. All that fluff is no good."

Miller is finishing up his twelfth disaster plan, this one for BP's operations in Anchorage, Alaska. And over the course of the projects, hehs learned to keep it simple and direct, rarely more than 50 pages.

"My father used to tell me to learn from all of his mistakes, because I'd never have time to make them all myself. It's the same thing with disaster planning," he explains.

As a result, he uses a point-to-point recovery flow that seems to work regardless of the platform or location of the system.

BP America is one of the largest companies in the United States, with revenues of $17.7 billion.

BP America is the nation's largest producer of domestic crude oil.

Its core businesses are oil, natural gas, and chemicals.

It is also a leading refiner and marketer of petroleum products, with a retail network in 24 states.

BP America is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Petroleum Co. plc.

Must help Everybody

With its geographic and corporate diversity, each BP division has special needs and requirements for disaster security.

By now, Miller has his system to help the divisions down pat.

His first steps are in three major areas:

* Define critical inventory, including both hardware and software.

* Derine critical systems which will take priority.

* Define what you have on the floor, what is hot, and when it has to be up.

Each of his plans varies from site to site.

The way BP is structured, Miller works more as a consultant than a project manager.

His job is to make recommendations which will vary by division or group.

In many ways, he is an in-house sales and service force.

Once he has the equipment plan fairly well sorted out, he tries to establish human redundancy in addition to equipment backup. For remote operations, as an example, it could be impractical to fly personnel to a disaster backup site. The disaster situation, time, or financial considerations could cause considerable delay.

For that reason, corporate people must be prepared to back up any site on the network.

BP's worldwide network shares the same backbone.

From the BP America headquarters on Public Square in Cleveland, Miller can LogOn to any node in the network.

In addition to petroleum, BP is the world leader in acrylonitrile technology. They also are involved in ceramic and resin-based materials, advanced composites, and animal feeds.

The BP computer environment is mixed, although mainly Digital and IBM. The system is totally decentalized.

All of Miller's plan are living documents.

"We define someone responsible for the plan," he says. "But first we nail down maintenance and test the criteria in the manual before turning it over to the user."

Although he has 10 years' experience in the field, Miller still gets odd-ball requests from each of the groups and divisions. And he's still finding surprises.

"You'd think an off-size storage contractor would ship and store tapes in a damage-proof package, right?" he asks.

"If you don't negotiate that detail in your contract you'll find your tapes sitting on a hot dock. Or out in the rain. Guess what happens to the media?" he says.

It's the little details like that which keep a planner on his toes no matter how many plans he has written.

"Disaster plans do follow a pattern, but they don't get easier, because so many requests are unique."
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:BP America
Author:Harler, Curt
Publication:Communications News
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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