Moving towards a business case for business continuity

Making the business case for business continuity is an area that companies struggle with. Whereas fires and explosions can have people’s imaginations working feverishly, when a little time goes by and they don’t happen, they get relegated to a “to do” list that might get done by the IT department, but not by others. IT isn’t the only department to need business continuity/disaster recovery. It’s just that the potential impact of problems is immediate enough to scare people into doing something about it. But although substandard product quality assurance can take time to make its effects felt, when the company’s reputation has finally been trodden into the ground, the damage can be just as great.

Hence the need for a business case for business continuity, as a carrot to get executives to put the plan in place. One place to look for inspiration is business continuity that has worked well and that can be leveraged in PR and publicity for a company. It can be the basis of a message about the reliability and dependability of the enterprise is, and by implication why customers should prefer you to other firms. However, because you can’t normally guarantee a disaster happening, you can’t guarantee that such PR material becomes available either; at best it’s a bonus that you get if things happen to work out that way.

It’s in the business continuity planning phase itself that benefits need to be identified and that the business case for business continuity has to be made, not just in the hypothetical benefits if disaster strikes. While step by step solutions are beyond the scope of this article, here’s a possible starting point.  Business Continuity is all about ensuring that a company can keep on running after problems hit, meaning that the key strengths of the company have to be protected and weaknesses minimised. BCM for different departments can be a way of ensuring that people understand the business, what makes it run and what distinguishes it positively in its market. Understanding like this positively affects how they do their jobs in general and ultimately how customers get served and appreciate that service.