Change is an often overlooked issue when it comes to business continuity planning. Things that change on the business front need to be analyzed to determine if the change impacts the organizations business continuity plan. Once thorough change management is implemented, you can make use of the change management procedures to improve your ability to keep the business continuity plan updated by noting significant changes in the infrastructure that are vital to keeping the plan effective. A properly implemented change management program plays a vital role in reducing infrastructure instability and improving operational availability following a business disruption.
What type of change deserves oversight? It’s essential to pay attention to changes in management, staff, business strategies (products & services), business processes, and the technology environment utilized by the organization. It is also imperative to look outside the business and factor in changes that involve critical vendors and key services providers.
In order to ensure plan viability, it is a MUST that the change management processes consider the impact of change on the organizations business continuity plan. At time of event is NOT the time to find out that a change or a series of changes were not factored in to the business continuity plan and thus the organization cannot fully recover their critical business functions and processes.
Where do you stand? Are you one of those organizations that have or are considering deferring your business continuity planning efforts? In the past, when I have had a conversation with those that fall in the above category their thought process was usually – “those concerned about our business continuity plan, the regulators or external auditors, will understand given the economy and the other issues facing business and industry these days.” My response to them is this – “Maybe they will or maybe they won’t.” It’s a gamble you may not want to take.
I typically follow with – “How about the other side of that coin? Will your customers, your clients and others understand?” If you are providing a product or service they depend on to sustain their existence the answer is probably not. Is this a gamble you really want to take?
I agree it is important to focus on the bottom line, but it is also important to remember that should you experience a major business disruption, it’s been proven that many of those that depend on that product or service will abandon you, and THAT will definitely impact your bottom line.
During a recent workshop on business continuity and crisis communications those in attendance agreed – without a plan and the ability to communicate, those that depend on their product or service would not “wait and see” to see how things transpired following a major event. They could not be away from their customers / clients for an extended period of time.
Planning is essential. You need to understand the risk your organization faces, develop an impact scenario, develop and implement a solution for recovering your technology, to include your voice environment, identify a recovery location, and most importantly document your plan. In addition, once the plan is developed it needs to be tested and / or exercised on a regular basis.
As the local business and industry group, the Alliance for Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness www.preparespokane.com, continues to promote – “Every business should have a plan! Plan to stay in business!”