Sometimes you have to be pragmatic. While it would be great to have the business case for business continuity generally agreed in an organisation, it’s not always that simple. So if there’s an opportunity for business continuity to get into a business on the coattails of some other project, it may merit consideration.
With this thought in mind, we mention a survey of SMBs done by VMware, the IT virtualisation vendor. Entitled “The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses”, it starts with a section on the benefits of virtualisation. The first pages concern the impact of virtualisation on costs, security and applications, with remarks on improvements in IT responsiveness and IT effectiveness. In the second section (starting on page 6 for a 10 page report), VMware discusses disaster preparedness, the impact of data loss and the true cost of downtime – in effect, a business case for business continuity.
Given the priority placed by many SMBs on containing or cutting costs, and their reputation for neglecting IT back up and risks of IT failure, VMware has probably got its approach right. First of all, it gets the SMBs’ attention by listing the financial benefits, to then afterwards reinforce the list with others. VMware sees business continuity as just one of the potential advantages, rather than the predominant reason for its solution to exist. However, the way the information is structured in its report could be a model of interest to anyone who has to put a business case for business continuity to an SMB.
The VMware report doesn’t step outside the domain of IT; VMware is an IT vendor rather than a management consulting company. And whatever the need for improved business continuity planning and preparedness, investments in software, whether VMware’s or any other vendor’s, still need to be evaluated in terms of the overall requirements of an organisation. But if the buying decision has been made, then improved business continuity can come along for the ride.