We have been involved many times this year in attempting to align business recovery needs with the IT function. Many times this effort has been at the behest of the IT organization and / or as part of aligning BIA results with IT for our final report. As you can well expect, the companies with well aligned Business and IT needs are few and far between; even after completing a “best practice” Business Impact Analysis, there is constant chatter about data validity and what was the business thinking. This constant disagreement leads to confusion and lack of action.
Additionally, the lack of education at the senior management level regarding current recovery capabilities is beyond comprehension. We do not expect senior executives to have a “boots on the ground” perspective but at least have a high level understanding of how, when, where and why. This lack of knowledge is highlighted when we display current capabilities versus needs and you see the deer in the headlights look! You must educate the executives today, tomorrow and in the future.
To present the best possible picture for alignment we do the following:
- Trust the “best educated” guess of the business unit leaders interviewed.
- Use weightings in our BIAs for each impact category to ensure most important categories (loss of revenue, customer service) to the organization receive the appropriate weightings.
- Identify the core applications in each BIA to eliminate non-critical supporting applications being deemed critical.
- Include IT representation in all key meetings.
- Remind IT this is about the business process and not worry immediately about the servers, network, etc. needed for recovery.
- Have an objective team review the results before presentation.
- Remind everyone that manual workarounds have little to no shelf life in today’s highly automated world.