The Next Wave in Business Continuity Management (part one of two)

Ocean Wave SmallDo you have a business continuity program that includes a BIA, up-to-date plan documentation, annual exercises and maybe even a few training events?

If you answered yes, your organization is among the majority. Most likely, your auditors and regulators are satisfied with the progress your team has made. However, you may be wondering if you’re doing all you can to ensure the program will be effective when needed, while maximizing a very finite risk management budget. The Avalution team met recently and discussed emerging best practices transforming the business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) industry. This article is part one of a two-part series. In this first article, we’ll briefly describe the first three emerging best practices that enable higher degrees of efficiency and effectiveness.

1. Consider BC When Designing Facilities (and Before Reorganizations)

As business continuity professionals, we appreciate that business change can lead to significant BC and DR strategy change. We’ve all learned – in the eleventh hour – of a newly constructed facility housing a critical element of the business, a consolidation of facilities into a single campus environment or a reorganization introducing unimagined efficiency (and unimagined single points of failure).

Some organizations have highly structured business and IT change management processes. A growing number of these companies include business continuity professionals as members of change committees. What value does this offer? The business continuity professional often points out the availability implications of business options (which are often overlooked in favor of cost savings), may assist in quantifying or describing risk, and assist in identifying risk mitigation strategy options.

2. Cooperate and Collaborate with Critical Supply Chain Partners

It’s one thing to identify critical suppliers and then send them surveys regarding their business continuity programs. It’s a huge leap in maturity to consult with your suppliers’ business continuity teams to share best practices, recovery objectives, strategy information, expectations and mutual aid options. That’s what a few select organizations are doing – and this is driven by the extreme criticality of their relationships with these third-parties. Recurring meetings (some face-to-face) are leading to decreased availability risk and far-greater levels of business continuity program maturity – for both organizations.

3. Think About Business Continuity When Acquiring Companies

Some organizations are good at acquiring other companies, others aren’t. Those that are good have defined, repeatable processes to evaluate key elements of the target business in order to assess value, stability and longevity. Some acquiring business managers review and identify target company risk management practices (to include business continuity management program characteristics), key organizational risks and single points of failure. Due to the resource investment required to mitigate availability risk, the value of a defined, proactive business continuity program is not lost in the minds of the acquiring company. A big part of the business continuity program review is the strength and experience of the internal business continuity team.