Metrics are what you use to measure things. It sounds obvious. What’s not so obvious is why figure-driven metrics seem so often to be channelled off towards disaster recovery and IT in particular, whereas other high-level metrics end up with business continuity. Sure, there are the historical IT roots of disaster recovery to be considered compared to those of business continuity, but in theory we’ve evolved since then. Are we face to face with a phenomenon of, well, “metricism” – our term to express unjustified discrimination in the way metrics are used? This “discriminatory” thinking can be found in various places on the Internet. While what’s said is often the truth and nothing but the truth, the question is whether it’s the whole truth. While you can apply high-level “yes/no” or “did we/didn’t we” type metrics to BC and lower-level ones to DR, you should also be able to do the reverse.
Without wanting to oversimplify, business continuity seems to get measured as much by milestones as by other metrics: for instance, whether or not a certain process is in place, or if appropriate analyses are conducted periodically. Quantitative measurements take a back seat. For disaster recovery, it’s often the reverse. Acronym-rich and eminently measurable, metrics for DR are often limited to the time to accomplish recovery actions concerning IT installations and no more.
Yet disaster recovery has to go further than just sorting out an IT disaster. IT is often a vital function for an organisation, but so are functions like manufacturing and transport. To use another analogy, a heart attack can be life-threatening, but so can kidney failure and a host of other problems. As a first step, the metrics being used for IT can also be applied to other critical areas of an organisation’s activity. And as a second step, healthy interchange should apply high-level metrics to DR and quantitative metrics to BC.