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Now, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, it might seem like the demand for business continuity plans (BCPs), processes, programs, and services will never end. But we’ve been here before, namely after the 11 September 2001 terror attacks when demand spiked but then plummeted. How, then, to help your clients build a sustainable case for business continuity management?
The importance of data in building the case for business continuity management
We suggest advising clients to start with an executive summary that lays out the numbers. In this field, the research clearly indicates that a failure to properly prepare for crises increases the risk of post-crisis business closure. For instance, anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of small businesses close after a natural disaster, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Those numbers are primarily driven by the 90 percent of businesses that fail because they can’t resume operations within five days.
And the reason they can’t? The same data shows 20 percent of companies don’t spend any time maintaining their BCPs, including provisions for IT redundancy, data management, and emergency supplies.
Building the case for business continuity management means defining the aims of the program
Those numbers will be eye-openers to your client’s C-level executives. The higher-ups, however, might still be reluctant to act, particularly once the pandemic is over.
The key, then, to building the case for sustainable business continuity management is narrowly defining the aims of the eventual program. Might sound counterintuitive but hear us out.
Your clients have to prove the ROI of the value-creating business continuity resources they seek, by first answering the inevitable question: how will allocating the requested resources minimise brand damage and the risk of critical business interruptions? Here, concrete ROI for the strategic logic of the project might include:
- Reduces likelihood of losses by identifying ways to prevent or mitigate threats
- Ensures compliance by dedicating resources to minimise the risk of compliance violations
- Helps retain existing and secure new business by showing customers that their assets will be protected
Building the case for business continuity management by including relevant assets that reflect the context of your client’s organisation
Concepts are one thing. Creating relevant assets that garner your client’s C-suite’s buy-in is quite another. And that first asset will likely be the business impact analysis (BIA), a diagnostic of your client’s business’s internal dependencies and vulnerabilities, which provides the analytical baseline for developing (later) BCP materials.
Too often, though, continuity managers get waylaid by the BIA. The process gets overly complicated, divorced from their immediate business realities. You can help, though.
Remember, it’s not the whole kitchen sink; instead, the BIA should offer your client’s senior management a bird’s eye view of the following:
- Prioritised business activities that generate the most money or benefits to the organisation
- How badly those activities would be impacted by a disruption
- Insight into the pathways by which that impact would possibly take place.
It’s these interdependencies that the business impact analysis is particularly focused on identifying and quantifying, with the analysis itself serving as (1) a necessary prerequisite for an informed prioritisation of client assets to protect and (2) the relevant recovery actions to initiate in the case of an emergency.
Not certain how to help your clients deliver that pragmatic BIA, so they can make a successful case for business continuity management? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Download our best-practice Guide to Developing a Pragmatic Business Impact Analysis: