Combining Scenario and Impact Planning in Business Continuity

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Scenario planning, in which you seek to identify higher risk and higher probability causes of business interruption, attracts both supporters and cynics.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2971″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” image_hovers=”false” lazy_loading=”true”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of the criticisms levelled at scenario planning is that it often results in business continuity plans that are hard to manage and keep up to date.

Complexity rises exponentially with the number of scenarios being considered.

On the other hand, viewing BC purely in terms of impacts to be avoided (effects rather than causes) calls for faculties of imagination and vision that may surpass what some organisations can muster.

The best way forward may be to combine the strengths of both and in parallel eliminate their weaknesses.

  • Scenario planning. Disasters happen to organisations every day and news articles are often available to describe what happened. This makes it easier to construct a list of possible incidents, and then evaluate impact and probability for an overall risk rating. If several types of incident turn out to have the same or very similar impacts, they can be grouped together, simplifying the list of scenarios, and helping an organisation plan for impacts, rather than just scenarios.
  • Impact planning. It can be argued that what really counts is the effect on the organisation. Understanding how to react to impacts such as unavailability of IT, loss of valued customers, or shortfalls in workforce skills moves an organisation a step closer to ensuring business continuity, rather than grappling with the specificities of causes such as lightning strikes, competitive price wars, or factory strikes.

By combining analyses based on scenarios and impacts, an organisation can optimise its business continuity planning.

Surveying different possible scenarios helps the organisation to cover all the bases. Drawing up a plan based on impacts makes the plan easier and faster to apply.

Each time a new scenario comes to light, it can be checked against existing impacts to see if it should just be listed as another possible example of a cause for a given effect, or if it implies a new impact that warrants a new section in the plan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]