Helping Hands in 2019: What BC Consultants Can Do For You

Richard Long

A new year means new challenges for your organization’s business continuity management (BCM) program, but you don’t have to face them alone. In today’s blog, we’ll sketch out some of the ways BC consultants can provide you targeted, cost-efficient assistance across nine key areas of business continuity.

Related on MHA Consulting:  Client’s Guide to Hiring a BC Consultant 

Last week, MHA Consulting and BCMMETRICS CEO Michael Herrera wrote a post on the BCMMETRICS blog called “CEO’s Crystal Ball: Business Continuity Trends for 2019.” In it, he made predictions across nine areas ranging from demand and management to threats and continuity software.

In today’s post, I’m going to look at the same categories Michael did but with a focus on how a business continuity consultant might be able to help you in those areas in 2019.

 

THE USUAL DISCLAIMERS

As always, when I talk about hiring a BC consultant, I like to give a few tips and disclaimers:

  •  Yes, MHA Consulting provides these services but so do many other well-regarded BC consulting companies.
  • The important thing is to find a firm or consultant that is a good fit for your team and organization.
  • Many people assume BC consultancies are only interested in long, expensive, full-scale engagements. However, many consultancies (including MHA) are open to working with companies in a limited, targeted capacity.

With that said, the following are some ways BC consultant might be able to help your company in 2019, across the nine main areas of business continuity:

 

DEMAND

The first prediction from the post mentioned above is that there will be an increase in demand for business continuity planning across all industries this year “as the realization hits that we are all one incident away from being out of business.”

If there’s an increase in demand for BC services at your organization, you might find it beneficial to bring in an outside consultant to help you handle the extra workload. This could be helping you conduct BIAs, doing disaster exercises, presenting to management, or any other BC-related task. See below for more ideas.

 

MANAGEMENT

In terms of management, the CEO’s Crystal Ball predicts that in 2019 senior managers will begin to recognize their need to plug the gaps in their BC knowledge and that many will begin looking for BC managers to demonstrate the value of investment (VOI) of their programs.

Outside BC consultants could assist in both these areas. They routinely provide training in BC and could provide the same to your management. They could also assist in calculating and demonstrating to them the value of the BC program.

BC consultant assistance could range from advising your BCM team to actually conducting the training or VOI presentation.

 

PRACTITIONERS

Even experienced practitioners who do not need help with BCM tasks might find it challenging to work with the new generation of employee moving into BCM. A consultant can help bridge the gap between our old methods and the new minds coming into our field.

It’s commonly said that the employees of the millennial generation have shorter attention spans than in previous eras. While we don’t necessarily agree with this stereotype, research does show that millennials are a driving force behind workplace change.

BC consultants, with their wide experience of other organizations (possibly including some in the same industry and the same size as yours), often have valuable insights that might benefit your company as you confront the challenges (and opportunities) brought by the contemporary work force.

As an example, a BC consultant might be able to help you modify your standard approach to doing a business impact analysis (BIA) or threat and risk assessment (TRA) to mesh better with the needs of workers less willing to sit through a three-hour meeting.

 

BUDGETING

We expect that most BC budgets will increase in 2019, but a BC consultant could help you with your budgeting challenges in 2019, whatever situation you are facing.

Consultants can help you determine the budget you need to accomplish certain goals, prepare and justify a request for a larger budget, or make the most of a newly reduced budget.

 

BUSINESS CONTINUITY

In 2019 a BC consultant could help you and your team develop BC plans, perform BIAs and TRAs, and make sure your recovery plans are functional. Consider all the aspects of BC where your team lacks the expertise or time to get the job done. Chances are a BC consultant could help in these areas, whether it’s doing BIAs, identifying gaps, reviewing plans and methodology, or creating the plans and methodology. Along with helping perform functions, consultants can provide insight on how to modify your methodology to better meet the changes in your organization.

 

IT/DISASTER RECOVERY

IT teams tend to be resource constrained. Outside help can augment the resources of the IT/DR team in terms of developing plans, organizing and facilitating DR strategy and implementation, and planning and coordinating IT/DR exercises. The consultant’s experience of other organizations with similar technology or needs to yours can work to your benefit. The consultant’s bird’s-eye view of the industry can help you arrive at good solutions faster and more efficiently. This includes both the how and what. As organizations continue to move toward cloud and DRaaS solutions, there are subtleties and unintended consequences that can occur if an organization is not using yet various DR technologies.

 

CRITICAL SUPPLIERS

We anticipate that “critical suppliers will increasingly come under the microscope” in terms of their BC planning in 2019. This is an area where many organizations are vulnerable. Most have not looked closely at the resiliency of their critical vendors. We find that many organizations are critically dependent on vendors with weak BC plans.

BC consultants can offer significant help in this area. They can help companies identify who their critical suppliers are, assess the vulnerabilities of those suppliers, and develop plans to remediate the risks.

Many companies acknowledge the need to look more closely at their suppliers but never get around to doing so. This is a fairly self-contained area that an outside consultant could readily come in and take care of.

 

THREATS

The threat and risk assessment is another important area that is frequently neglected and relatively self-contained, making it straightforward for an outside BC consultant to come in and assist. It is also an area where the bird’s-eye view of the consultant, with their experience of many other industries and companies, can be of great benefit to the client in terms of helping them identify, assess, and remediate risk.

Often companies miss or discount tangential risks which the consultant has seen cause significant damage to similar organizations.

 

CONTINUITY SOFTWARE

Finally, we anticipate that 2019 will see interesting changes in the world of business continuity software, whose use continues to expand.

BC consultants can be helpful in assisting clients in navigating through this highly confusing marketplace. There are many tools available, including many excellent ones. The important thing is finding a tool that is right for your organization and needs. The most expensive tool is not necessarily the best for you, and the least expensive ones can end up having unforeseen costs if they don’t meet your needs.

A consulting firm can help you determine your BC software needs and find a tool that works for you.

 

PARTNERING WITH YOU

Have you thought about what 2019 has in store for you and your BCM program? Are there areas where you could use some strategic advice or projects that you would like to do but lack the manpower to tackle? Could you benefit from the bird’s-eye view of a consultant with experience at other companies in the same industry or the same size as yours?

BC consultants can assist in the whole range of BCM tasks, and from full-scale engagements to short, targeted tasks. They can be your on-call capacity bank and knowledge resource for all BC activities while helping you look out for the best interests of your organization and improve and mature your BC program.

 

FURTHER READING

For more information on this and other hot topics in business continuity and IT/disaster recovery, check out these recent posts on MHA Consulting and BCMMETRICS:

pandemic plan