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What Your Clients Need to Know about the Business Impact Analysis

Your clients have resolved to get their business continuity house in order. Now, they have to get started on the business impact analysis (BIA), the BCM technique used to define the impact of a disruption over time. But what steps should clients take to conduct an effective BIA?

Read on to find out.

How to think of the business impact analysis?

A diagnostic of a business’s internal dependencies and vulnerabilities, the business impact analysis provides the analytical baseline for developing business continuity planning materials and battle-readying business continuity management systems (BCMS) and processes.

So, what does it do? A good BIA achieves the following:

  • Offers senior management a bird’s eye view of the critical business activities that generate the most money or benefits to the organization
  • Details how badly those activities would be impacted by a disruption
  • Offers insight into the pathways by which that impact would possibly take place

Challenges to conducting the business impact analysis

If it’s so instrumental, though, why haven’t clients been conducting the BIA already? That’s its own kettle of fish.

One of the reported answers is that the alphabet soup of business continuity management acronyms and jargon can feel academic, abstract, and divorced from a client’s immediate business realities.

Compounding the challenge is the overwhelming amount of information to be sifted through and curated.

At times, the analysis required can also be site-dependent rather than unit-dependent, which requires a different approach and visualization capabilities.

What’s more, the data-capturing process, if done manually, is extremely labor-intensive, rife with opportunities for error.

Steps to conducting an effective business impact analysis

What then can clients do to avoid the pitfalls? We recommend following these eight steps to conduct an effective BIA:

1. Objectives

Define objectives by reviewing the context and scope of the BIA. Ensure it’s strategically aligned and approved by top management.

2. Roles and responsibilities

Assign BIA roles and responsibilities carefully within the organization to facilitate a smooth process, recognizing the importance of resource availability.

3. Implementation plan

Develop an implementation plan outlining the approach and methodology for executing the BIA. Adopt a uniform approach across the organization for scalability and alignment with unique needs.

4. Prioritization

Prioritize products and services, considering financial, reputational, legal, customer, health and safety, operational, regulatory impacts. Be mindful of disruptions from within the supply chain or external sources.

5. Resources

Identify necessary resources for continuity following an incident, along with dependencies and interdependencies.

6. Final analysis

Conduct a final analysis to consolidate BIA results.

7. Sign-off

Obtain top management approval of BIA results, showcasing the urgency of the organization's response to disruptions.

8. Review

Periodically review the BIA as part of a continual improvement strategy.

Business continuity software for conducting the business impact analysis

Sounds like a lot. But these steps don’t have to be overwhelming. For its part, business continuity management software can help streamline parts of the BIA.

How so? BIA tools can help simplify BIA processes and drive engagement across the organization, guiding clients through the process step-by-step and ensuring that their BIAs are rich with insightful data.

Of course, there’s more to conducting a successful BIA than tools. For the rest of the scoop, read our article 8 Steps to Conducting a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).