​Warning: Don’t skimp on your business continuity budget

Blog post   •   May 14, 2016 14:32 BST

What’s the ROI on that?” is one of the most common questions management ask when evaluating business programmes and projects. When it comes to business continuity programmes, the answer is often “Well, there’s not really any ROI unless you experience a major disaster, and we haven’t experienced one yet.

Because of this perceived lack of immediate value, budgets often get diverted away from business continuity to other projects that produce more tangible results. In fact, 49% of businesses don’t even have a comprehensive business continuity plan, leaving their entire company at risk because of the lack of an obvious ROI.

But what you may not realize is that your business continuity programme is almost guaranteed to produce ROI for the following two key reasons.

Disasters are increasing in frequency

Research from ITS reveals that floods and severe storms – such as Desmond and Katie – are increasing in frequency and have the potential to cost billions of pounds in damage. Even seemingly mundane incidents such as burst pipes have also proven disruptive to UK businesses. In July 2015, for example, a burst pipe cut power to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and caused flooding, resulting in the A&E closing to all but critical patients.

Investing in the forward planning required to cope with these incidents can save valuable time, protect the organisation’s revenue and preserve its customer base. Advance planning also gives you time to test the solutions you’ve invested in to help keep your business moving forward.

Today many businesses believe 'set it and forget it' disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions provide enough protection from disasters. However, simply moving data off-site isn’t enough to protect your IT infrastructure. To avoid wasting money on a product that doesn’t work in the face of a disaster, it’s important to work with your DRaaS provider to test the solution and have a plan for coping with power outages and other consequences of a disaster.

Business continuity planning improves your day-to-day operations

While having a business continuity programme can help you protect your revenue after a man-made or natural disaster, you don’t have to experience a disaster to reap the benefits.

The foundation of a profitable business continuity programme is the business impact analysis (BIA). During this process, you’ll assess and prioritize critical business processes, employee roles and technology. As you take a closer look at the inner workings of your business, you’re likely to discover new opportunities for cost savings or even revenue generation. If you work with a consultant who can provide an objective business continuity assessment, you’re likely to find areas for improvement within your company.

Here are just a few ways business continuity planning can help you realize ROI on a day-to-day basis:

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

As you can see, having a business continuity programme in place helps you protect your revenue in case you’re affected by a disaster (and the odds of being affected by one are increasing as disasters become more frequent). But business continuity planning isn’t just about preparing for disasters. An effective plan can help you make your processes more efficient, reduce revenue cycles and streamline vendor management.

You’ve been warned: skimping on your BC/DR budget might not save you the money you think it will.

Matt Kingswood is the UK Head of IT Specialists (ITS)