Create Business Continuity Wide Scope ‘Roll-Up Plans’ – Info at Your Fingertips

This information is from my new book, The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide: How to Build Real-World Resilience and Unleash Exciting New Value Streams. Happily it is now Amazon’s #1 searched business continuity book. I hope you enjoy the chapter. and the book.

Business Continuity Tips, Techniques and Secrets

Create Business Continuity Wide Scope ‘Roll-Up Plans’ – Info at Your Fingertips

On a higher and wider scope level than the individual department business continuity plans, which we discussed in the previous chapter, you can attain additional value by creating larger, more comprehensive plans. These plans can consolidate business information at varying levels in anticipation of disruptive events that may impact a wider scope of your organization. These types of plans, depending on your organizational hierarchy, can provide value at the enterprise, global, regional, divisional and/or location level. These hybrid plans are in addition to your focused Crisis Management, Crisis Communications, Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery Plans.

I will caution you that it is important to make sure these larger information roll-up plans are designed with usability in mind. It is critical to organize the information as simply and elegantly as possible. During the design phase obtain input from the people who will be using the roll-up plan. Understand what will be important to them at time of crisis. If you have a communications or publishing department in your organization, also speak with them regarding good design.

These larger ‘one-stop-shop’ plans can also incorporate crisis management, response, scenario specific static and dynamic response steps, as well as the business process roll-ups to the hierarchy level you desire. In my experience it is advantageous to use checklists where possible. These wider scope plans would be overkill and too confusing for individual ‘boots on the ground’ process owners who are laser focused on recovering their department.

If you are like me, you and your crisis team will find value having everything at your finger tips. You will not have to go searching around during a pressurized situation for important information. Imagine having to consolidate business requirement dependencies sifting through individual plans. Imagine scavenging around for a phone number or address of the 3rd party recovery site and your customer identification number? That would not be the best use of your time.

The cool thing is, if you are using a flexible business continuity management (BCM) tool powered by a relational database that has properly separated the presentation and data layers (more on that in upcoming chapters), you should be able to automatically populate the ‘roll-up’ dynamic data in the higher level plans.

For example, you could roll-up all the business processes and underlying systems impacted at a single location, region or even globally. You will also be able to create reports, checklists and metric dashboards in any amount of detail or summary that you and management require.

Your BCM tool should have the ability to slice, dice and present the information any way you want and need it – with minimal effort. You should also have the ability to create ‘ad-hoc’ on the fly reports with minimal effort. In the technology part of the book I describe these benefits and many more that I require from a BCM tool.

Think of plans in a BCM tool as template containers. They can access information stored in the underlying database in fields, records and tables AND integrate those with static information. Static information does not change and can be ‘hard-coded’ into the plan templates. For example, descriptions of recovery role responsibilities or the emergency hotline telephone number might be consistent throughout your organization. You could hard-code these into the template.

We are in a data business. To make you more comfortable with these data concepts we will dig a bit deeper  into the workings and power of a relational database in the technology part of the book. I promise it will not turn into an advanced database tutorial. I just want to demonstrate how a database can help you and help to level the playing field when you are speaking with vendors trying to sell you solutions along with your internal IT partners.

I am also available for followup technical questions. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you enjoyed the information in this chapter. We go into a lot more detail in The Ultimate Continuity Success Guide. In fact, this is only one of 112 chapters packed with 1001 tips, techniques, ideas and those important lessons-learned. Have fun and please contact me with any questions!