Results from the 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study

Published: Monday, 23 September 2019 08:48

During May – July Continuity Central, along with the Business Continuity Institute, Disaster Recovery Institute International, and the Association of Continuity Professionals, assisted ClearView and Assurance with the first annual Business Continuity Benchmark Study. Altogether 1,123 responses were received to a survey for the study; and the results are now available in a report which examines the key findings and identifies best-in class organizational attributes that are most highly correlated with business continuity success.

Key findings from the report were as follows:

Objectives related to crisis response top the list of business continuity program priorities

Study participants identified the key objectives of their BC program. Interestingly the global results show that the top six high priority objectives were all related to crisis response. 'Ensure continuity of operations during a crisis' was indicated as the top priority by 83 percent of study participants, closely followed by 'Ensure employee safety during a crisis' at 80 percent. 'Ensure continuity of key IT systems during a crisis'  (77 percent) and 'Minimize the impact to customers as a result of a business disruption' (74 percent) followed closely behind.

More than three-quarters of the study participants indicate that business continuity is a priority for their organization’s executives

76 percent of the study participants indicated that business continuity is either a high or medium priority for top executives in their organization. 14 percent of participants indicated that business continuity is treated by senior executives as a ‘situational priority’ - important only during or following a crisis.  Only 1 percent of participants indicated that business continuity is not a priority for senior executives.

The highest degrees of success are achieved with the highest priority objectives

The highest degrees of success in business continuity programs are achieved with the highest priority objectives. Employee safety tops the list with more than 60 percent of participants indicating that this is a ‘highly successful’ area.  For all other objectives, a high degree of success is achieved by less than half of the participants.

The lowest success rates in the list also align with the lowest priority objectives; with ‘Reduce overhead costs such as D&O insurance premiums’ and ‘Support our pursuit of securing business with new clients’ at the bottom.  For these two, a substantial number of study participants are unaware of any success being achieved.

Organizational engagement and executive priority exhibited the highest degrees of correlation with  success compared to other organizational attributes

Organizational engagement exhibits the highest degree of correlation with the success of business continuity programs.  Organizations that have fully addressed the challenge of organizational engagement are more than four times more likely to report a high degree of BC program success than those indicating the challenge is unaddressed.

Business continuity programs described as highly mature are most commonly noted as highly successful

Only 9 percent of participants indicated that their business continuity programs are ‘very mature’. A further 27 percent said that business continuity in their organizations is ‘mature’ and 33 percent said it is ‘reasonably mature’.

Opportunities for continuing improvement persist. For all but one challenge, fewer than half of the participants indicated that challenges are fully addressed

Most organizations have achieved at least partial success addressing the most common challenges to business continuity programs. However, ‘Lack of executive support’ was the only challenge were more than half of survey participants indicated that the challenge is fully addressed.

The most persistent challenges, including ‘supply chain and third party risks’, ‘increasing and constantly evolving risk landscape’, and ‘increasing and constantly evolving cyber risks’ all originate external to organizations.  The next most persistent challenges are primarily related to lack of resources and organizational engagement. 

Two thirds of participants indicated that return on investment (ROI) is not measured for their business continuity program

Two-thirds of study participants indicated that business continuity is a necessary operating expense – and return on investment (ROI) is  not measured.  For organizations that do measure ROI from their investments in business continuity, assessments based on potential costs top the list. Including: ‘the potential cost and risk of a business disruption’; ‘the potential damage to reputation / brand’; and ‘potential cost of contractual / service breaches’.  The use of remaining ROI measures falls off rapidly with potential business growth and realized cost savings being utilized by less than 10 percent of organizations.

Obtain the study report

A copy of the 71-page 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study can be downloaded here after registration.