The Conundrum of Aligning Business DR Needs with Information Technology

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:

  1. Trust the “best educated” guess of the business unit leaders interviewed.
  2. 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.
  3. Identify the core applications in each BIA to eliminate non-critical supporting applications being deemed critical.
  4.  Include IT representation in all key meetings.

  5. Remind IT this is about the business process and not worry immediately about the servers, network, etc.  needed for recovery.
  6. Have an objective team review the results before presentation.
  7. Remind everyone that manual workarounds have little to no shelf life in today’s highly automated world.

Lastly, we always advise customers that the initial alignment may yield needs that cannot be met immediately.

Developing a plan that will align business and IT DR needs over time is acceptable and in in today’s budget conscious environment, a necessity.

Good Luck!

Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.

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