Companies are putting more emphasis on ROI-based decision making than ever before. As continuity planners, we often fail to perform an introspective review to truly evaluate our return on investment. Often, ROI does not necessarily have to be a mathematical equation.
Maximize Your Return on Investment
Sun, 09/12/2010 - 8:00pm
Recent events have showcased response plans that were worthless – so outdated and wrought with inaccuracies that they were of no value to the response. The return on all of the time and money invested ended up to be nil. For continuity planners, ROI may not be realized until an event occurs, and if your plan isn’t up-to-date and functional, you might be the next to realize – too late – that all your work was for naught.
Here are three basic ways to maximize your ROI.
After all, isn’t that why your employer invests in you? Time and again, we see companies with plans that are never touched in a real event. So much time is spent on creating plans that are filled with policies and fluff. Don’t get me wrong, policies are important but alone, they do not constitute a plan. Many continuity planners spend too much of their time on what we call the “Continual Business Impact Analysis” and never get to the actual planning for these situations.
Static plans guarantee you a low return on investment. The ever-changing landscape of business continuity and the lightning speed that information travels at today will leave static plans in the dust. Technology is available today that allows you to literally launch your plans into action – plans that are dynamic and ever-changing. Technology can automatically update your plans and interact with your team, taking the static checklist into the 21st century. But don’t get complacent with things; just because your plans are in a software program does not mean they are ready for action. Plans in software can be just as static as those in Microsoft Word.
We recently encountered a planner who was spending several months out of the year exclusively focused on cumulating, documenting, summarizing and calculating hand-written responses from BIAs. Systems exist that can reduce time spent on this task to mere minutes, saving you valuable time while building better protection for your organization. These systems can minimize time spent on many other simple tasks and can completely transform your program.
Integrate systems. Today, there is no need to purchase and maintain multiple software applications (ENS, planning tools, incident management, security, etc.) Multiple systems require multiple licensing fees and a lot of inefficient maintenance.
In streamlining, also take a look at the plan owners in the various business units, most of whom devote less than 1% of their time to business continuity. We have been able to make their lives easier by incorporating tools that require very little of their time to complete their plan-related responsibilities. As a result, you build better plans and offer your company a higher return.
Do you feel like you are rebuilding your plans every year? Most of the time incurred in updating plans is spent updating data that should/could be updated automatically. By integrating systems, we have found that 80% of the information used within plans can be automatically updated. This keeps the yearly updates focused on the true plan and response.
A critical element in business continuity that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves is change management. By integrating change management into the business continuity program, you create a framework that promotes continual plan maintenance and building of the program.
So, what return do you provide to your organization for their investment in you? Your company invests a lot of money in you and the continuity program and you probably wish they would invest more in both. There are so many opportunities to provide a higher return on the investment in business continuity. So start now; perform an introspective review to ensure that there will be a great return, stay focused, and remember: At the end of the day, as continuity planners, the primary return to your company’s investment is ensuring the company is fully prepared with plans that are ready for action. CI