I always like to have a clear vision of where I am going when I conduct an assignment for a client – or when I do any project for that matter. In business continuity, having a clearly defined end state will help make sure your efforts and expenditures are focused on an end goal, and that should help keep you from getting off track.
The Process of Business Continuity
Over the years, there have been many methodologies and processes that have defined how to go about the process of business continuity. For the purposes of this article, let’s define business continuity as the overall program which addresses business, IT, personnel, and external entity outages.
As for the business continuity process, I typically suggest following a three-phase, seven-step process for executing against a BCP agenda:
Phase 1: Identify critical business processes by completing the following three steps:
- Risk Source Identification and Alignment – Identify the sources of risk that may impact the critical business processes and IT services.
- Business Process Identification and Alignment – Identify and align the business processes that must continue during an outage to the various risk sources on which they depend.
- Risk and Control Evaluation – Understand the risks that can impact the organization (define current state) and the controls that are in place.
Phase 2: Based on the business’ definition of criticality, establish an overall business continuity strategy and develop the supporting plans by meeting the following two requirements:
- Strategy Development – Develop the approach that will be taken to provide continuity for a process (the strategy).
- Plan Development – Develop actionable procedures (plans) to execute the strategy.
Phase 3: Implement the necessary components required for business continuity program management by addressing the following two topics:
- Business Continuity Plan Validation – Review and exercise the plans.
- Continuity and Recovery Plan and Program Sustainability – Conduct systematic review, maintenance, training, and reporting on the overall business continuity program and plans.
Defining the End State
While the three-phase process above does a good job of defining how to go about conducting a business continuity effort, it doesn’t provide a vision of the end state. That end state can be a valuable document to establish at the onset of the project. The chart on the previous page shows the end state divided into eight reference categories, which address the scope of a comprehensive program definition. Consider modifying this to fit your own needs. Obviously, the desired end state varies by organization, so your job is to complete that column as you see fit.
Developing an end state definition on the front end of your project will be a valuable guideline to follow, but it also can be a great way to evaluate your project or program that is well underway. The important thing is to know where you want to go so that you can measure your progress and report to management that you are on course.
Let’s see what we can do to share ideas with each other on this topic. E-mail me your thoughts at JJ@FusionRM.com.Thanks
in advance for your perspectives. CI