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How business continuity provides a ROI for the wider business

Organizations that fail to develop business continuity plans not only put themselves at risk from future incidents and disasters, they also miss out on other business benefits too. By Matt Kingswood.

Nearly half of businesses are giving up a significant opportunity for return on investment (ROI). What’s worse is they might not even realise it. In a recent CompTIA survey, 49 percent of businesses revealed that they don’t have a comprehensive business continuity plan. In the survey, companies said that data growth could be a driver in implementing a business continuity plan in the future, but none mentioned the inherent value of business continuity.

The perceived lack of ROI is perhaps one of the most common excuses for not investing in business continuity. In organizations that don’t prioritise it, management’s attitudes often reflect the belief that business continuity only has value if the organization experiences a major disaster. If it hasn’t experienced one in the past, business leaders lack a sense of urgency for implementing a comprehensive business continuity plan. Perhaps they’ll put certain processes in place to tick off boxes for compliance purposes, but that’s different to a true business continuity programme driven by organizational requirements.

Neglecting business continuity is a mistake. Here are two reasons why:

Disasters are becoming more frequent

In honour of the Business Continuity Institute’s Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) 2016, IT managed services provider IT Specialists (ITS) compiled a list of the last year's top business continuity incidents to help businesses understand the types of events that could affect them. The research revealed that natural disasters such as floods and severe storms (e.g. Desmond and Katie) as well as man-made disasters like power cuts and burst pipes are increasing in frequency. What’s more, these events have the potential to cost communities and businesses collectively billions of pounds in damage.

While an organization might not have experienced a disaster to date, the odds of experiencing one are increasing. A disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution can address organizations’ concerns about protecting growing data. However, a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to business continuity will not yield the maximum ROI potential. DRaaS needs to be incorporated into a larger business continuity programme which has provisions for employee network access, personal device use, telephony, Internet access and alternate workspace.

Investing in the forward planning required to cope with more frequent man-made and natural disasters saves valuable time, protects the organization’s revenue and preserves its customer base.

Business continuity planning improves daily operations

The value of business continuity’s effect on day-to-day operations is severely underrated. Of course business continuity helps protect an organization’s revenue after a man-made or natural disaster, but the planning process itself is beneficial.

The reason? The planning process, which begins with a business impact analysis (BIA), forces a business to assess and prioritise critical processes, employee roles and technology. By taking a closer look at the organization’s inner workings, management are likely to discover new opportunities for cost savings or even revenue generation. These opportunities are nearly guaranteed to surface if the organization works with a consultant who can provide an objective business continuity assessment.

A few examples of opportunities to save money and/or increase revenue following a BIA could include the following:

  • Decrease vendor investments by identifying products and services that can be bundled, thus reducing the number of vendors the business works with. 
  • Shorten project and revenue cycles by eliminating unnecessary touchpoints in critical processes.
  • Identify and phase out archaic processes, such as those involving paper-based workflows and manual data entry.

It’s unfortunate that half of companies are leaving their entire company at risk due to the lack of obvious business continuity ROI. The good news, however, is that businesses still have ample opportunity to capitalise on business continuity and protect themselves from disasters while simultaneously identifying ways to make the business more profitable.  

The author

Matt Kingswood is the Head of Managed Services of UK based IT Specialists (ITS), a nationwide Managed IT services provider. ITS is part of the US-based Reynolds and Reynolds company which has a strong heritage in data backup and recovery services. In his position, Matt is responsible for developing Managed IT services within the UK and is currently focused on the next generation of cloud and recovery products, BlackCloud and BlackVault Managed Recovery Platform.

Matt has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry, and was formerly CEO of The IT Solution – a full service IT Supplier acquired by ITS. Since joining ITS, he has led efforts to introduce a range of managed services based on the new ITS cloud platform. Previously Matt had a career in technology for several top tier investment banks before founding and selling several companies in the IT services industry.

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Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption'. Read more about the basics of business continuity here.

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