Gut feelings are nonetheless only as good as judgement and the experience used to make them. They may therefore be wrong, for any number of reasons, including incomplete information, personal prejudice, and faulty reasoning. In business continuity, as in other domains, organisations cannot afford to run on gut feelings when the risk of error is too high. But are data-driven decisions on business continuity a better option?
Business analytics are often suggested as the “cure” for gut feeling.
Instead of trying to deal with emotions or personal preferences, the idea is to use facts as the basis for decision.
Data can be analysed to reveal patterns and trends, such as falling revenues and rising risks tied to seasonal factors, types of equipment, workforce problems, and so on.
However, reliable data analysis for ensuring business continuity also requires an understanding of business continuity and of the questions that need to be asked.
There is no point in simply performing data analysis on a dataset that happens to be available to generate factoids of little or no practical relevance to the health of a business.
Business continuity will be a combination of analysis of hard data, experience, and judgment.
A business continuity manager who feels ill at ease with the conclusions drawn directly from data analytics should not immediately reject either feelings or data.
Instead, it is important to find out why there is a discrepancy between them.
The data could conceivably be wrong, the analysis incorrect, or the business manager mistaken.
Whatever the reason, the business and its continuity will gain from putting things right, either by rethinking how data should be used or by updating the business continuity manager’s view of the world.