What is your approach when you are hired by a company and given a blank sheet of paper to develop a business continuity program?
By Lawrence Robert, CBCP, CBRM, CBCLA.
“Help us make us recoverable”. “We have to be up to standards. “” Develop a program. These are just a few of the familiar requests when starting to build a program. While some mandates for program development are reactionary, your real job is to develop a more holistic business continuity program. It should include the strategic and technical components necessary for the implementation to ensure that the risks are fully identified and mitigated according to the business tolerance.
There is a lot of information available on the technical aspects of building business continuity plans, crisis plans, risk assessment details, business impact analyzes, or any other fundamental building block. a program. However, there is little information available on how we sell, market and even “brand” the overall internal program being built. The tedious work of integrating recovery into all aspects of the business deemed critical creates the need for a tangible entity in the organization and is an often overlooked component.
In addition to complying with a regulation or standard, the perception of the program is formed throughout the organization at various points of implementation. Promoting and nurturing this perception towards a mature model clearly understood by all program participants is a key activity. Everyone should understand the immense value that a program brings to the business and to the sustainability of providing products and / or services to its customers.
It is not an easy task. Many of you have already implemented components of a program, such as business continuity plans or disaster recovery plans. The current perception may be that the program is a complete, “end-to-end” recovery solution. However, it is never too late to introduce other aspects of a program into existing environments.
The first task is to identify the gaps to be filled and all the elements to be implemented. Include C-level management in these discussions.
They are the main promoters of the success or failure of a downstream program. Considerations include governance and oversight activities, integration of program components into business lines, and annual testing schedules. By doing this “end-to-end” development, you will create a “product”. The costs are not important at this stage. This product may have different levels of lead times. These deadlines can extend over years, so costs can be staggered to meet budget constraints.
Once you’ve built the product on paper, analyze what components you have in place and what needs to be developed. Develop a baseline of the current status of the program. This is something that needs to be clearly communicated at the C level from a strategic point of view. It should focus on activity and risk identification and mitigation. Conversations should be about what needs to be done if you are starting at ground level. If this is an existing program, show how current investments have contributed to the overall development of the product.
Protecting the business and continuing to provide services to customers is a necessity for the vitality of the business. Take every opportunity to promote the value that the business continuity program brings to the business. Formulate key talking points of strategic importance from a ‘treetop’ perspective. Create an “elevator speech” on the program that describes the value of the program in relation to core business activities.
Continue to promote the program when you meet with senior management, as well as site and team leaders within your organization. Regular meetings with steering committee members to demonstrate program progress is another powerful way to strengthen advocacy for the program and the brand. A business that not only sees the value of the program, but sees it as an integral and strategic part of the success of the organization, is well positioned to thrive in all possible scenarios.
Once you have developed the product (all program components and links) and begin to articulate the vision for the capabilities of the program, you can add great value by further branding for the program.
Branding is one of the least understood and most oversold aspects of program development. Done correctly, it can be the catalyst for understanding the value that a strong business continuity program brings to the business. Branding the program around a message greatly simplifies the task of conveying all aspects and benefits of business continuity and its importance to the lifeline of the business. In addition, it takes time and resources that might otherwise interfere with necessary program development activities.
Once the message is simplified, marketing initiatives will build brand awareness across the company and remind the company of the importance of the program. There are many ways to market your program. The key is to identify the activities to best reach the audience. For example, Business Continuity Awareness Week is a great opportunity to communicate the program, what it means for the business and build brand awareness.
Internal adoption is the term used to ‘buy into’ the branding program from management to administration to workforce. Internal adoption needs to come from the top levels of the company and spread throughout the organization. The goal of internal adoption is to make the whole organization believe in the importance of the program. They understand the value it adds to the business and, more importantly, they understand their role in the success of the program. Internal adoption brings the brand program to life within the organization.
While branding, marketing, and internal adoption are key activities for the success of your program, they should not overshadow the other program components that lead to a recoverable business. Rather, these are “behind the scenes” activities and should be part of the program roadmap.
Building a program that includes branding, marketing, and internal adoption will bring a higher level of credibility to your program, while allowing your team to focus on the details of building recovery capacity in your business. organization. A truly successful program development initiative combines a company-wide integration that not only allows your business to survive an event, but is understood and embraced by everyone in the organization.
Lawrence Robert is an aerospace and defense business continuity professional specializing in strategic program development. Lawrence has developed business continuity, risk management, crisis management and disaster recovery programs, both nationally and internationally, for over twenty years.
Lawrence holds certifications as a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), Certified Senior Business Continuity Auditor (CBCLA) and Certified Business Resiliency Professional (CBRP). Lawrence is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Contingency Planners, Boston Chapter.
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• Date: July 13, 2011 • Region: United States / World • Type: Article • Topic: Developing the British Columbia Plan
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