Production has them. So does supply chain, and finance; for sales, it’s practically a no-brainer. Yes, it’s the departmental dashboard – that one page summary of key performance data, typically in a graphical format with pie charts, bar charts and the like. You get at-a-glance information on how well an operation is doing. Most company dashboards nowadays are digital, gathering data from a PC or servers, and many are updated in near real time. Results that exceed objectives can be automatically flagged in green, and problem areas in red. The question is, if everybody else has them, should business continuity plan for one too?
Investment in BC needs to be justified. If a company invests, it wants to see the results or at least see what the business continuity plan suggests they will be. A dashboard would then give ongoing information according to the metrics used. For sales for example, the crucial information is how much revenue has been booked, how much profit has been generated and possibly a breakdown of those figures by product line or sales sector. You want as much as possible in each case. That’s the simple version. For operations like supply chain, it’s more complex; to balance properly, you don’t necessarily want a maximum for every metric.
So how might your business continuity plan define a BC dashboard? Time elapsed since the last BC incident? Number of severe risks mitigated? Costs saved for the organisation through BC detection and analysis of redundant activities? Relevant metrics in business continuity are not so easy to come by. Compared to sales or manufacturing striving to increase quantities of products sold or made, BC works to decrease the number of outages in business operations. Does trying to make a dashboard make sense? Actually, yes, if only because the attempt itself focuses thought on the deeper question of the right metrics for BC to prove that it benefits a company, with or without BC incidents.