What’s Stopping People from Defining Their Own Recovery Objectives?

People who manage a functional department or a business process may find it tough to set recovery objectives for what they manage so devotedly, day in and day out. That does not necessarily mean that they are not objective. Instead, they may not know how critical their part of the business is to the rest of the organisation. Without a measuring stick, they cannot confidently make recommendations or requests about suitable recovery times. So when the next business continuity planning moment comes along, BC managers may find that they have some handholding and educating to do to bring different organisational units up to speed.

Bad estimates for recovery objectives can cut two ways. Those who clamour without justification for rapid recovery times will consume resources that should have been given to another more critical process. On the other hand, those who suggest overly long or low-priority recovery objectives can jeopardise a company’s competitiveness or survival if efforts to repair a mission-critical function are too tardy. With no other criteria available, managers may also mistake time spent on a particular process as an indicator of its priority, thus setting the highest priority on the activity that consumes the most time. However, what counts is the end-result: for example, the profit generated, the customers served or the regulatory compliance observed.

BC managers should therefore make sure of two things. First, departmental, functional and process managers must know in straightforward terms what a recovery objective is. Second, they must have access to the criteria to be used for determining criticality as well as any top-level expectations about the maximum recovery times for strategically important parts of the business. They can then move towards defining their own recovery objectives. BC managers can then direct more of their attention to managing the whole portfolio of recovery objectives over the entire company to find synergies or make suitable trade-offs accordingly.