How can metrics be used to include and inform senior management as part of an effective Business Continuity Programme? What are the obstacles and how can they be overcome? We find out from Business Continuity expert, Mathilda Jansson.
How to use Business Continuity metrics
In our 20+ years of work with global enterprises, we have found that the single biggest influence on the success of Business Continuity programs is your ability to gain buy-in from senior management.
The most reliable way of achieving this is to ensure your senior management are fully briefed on the status of the program and, in particular, on your capability metrics from across different departments in your organization.
Why are metrics so important for Business Continuity?
If you don’t have a way of measuring the impact of Business Continuity Management, then you are working in the dark.
You need to know what ‘good’ looks like for your Business Continuity program in order to understand the existing gaps in your efforts, the improvements needed, and the order in which it should be done.
Where do you start? Accessing BCM data
The groundwork required to gain this data and quantify BCM into easily digestible metrics is typically where I’ve seen organizations stumble. Establishing the required level of collaboration, information sharing and alignment between teams and departments can seem a high barrier to entry.
While ultimately worth it, it’s a big demand to place on a number of stakeholders and one that makes gaining that senior management buy-in all the more difficult. Thankfully, in the modern workplace there’s much easier ways to go about it.
A far-reaching, user-friendly tool for visualizing and comparing BCM metrics simplifies and streamlines this process. From here, BCM teams can easily share metrics with senior management, auditors, Risk and Business Continuity departments, and more.
The BCM metrics cheat-sheet: Which metrics should you be tracking?
Business Continuity metrics you can use to measure and track your programs include:
Critical activities & BIA
How many critical activities are there in the organisation, which have a business impact analysis (BIA) and which take priority in being completed?
What is the maximum tolerable period of disruptions (MTPDs) for each activity?
Which activities or processes have been signed off and by whom? Where do they sit within the organization?
When was testing first undertaken and when does it need doing in the future? What cadence of ongoing testing is required and how much resource will this need?
Which activities are outstanding from the Business Continuity workflow / process for each department or team?
This gives you a picture of your progress, the roadblocks you face, and what’s required to push towards completion.
Map your Business Continuity life cycle
What parts of the Business Continuity life cycle have been completed and in which department or business area?
This is another progress metric which gives you an overview of what stage Business Continuity plans currently are and where they sit within the Business Continuity life cycle.
What are the most critical dependencies, processes and key resources within your organization?
Senior management need to know where you are dependent and what risks your organizations faces, as this gives them a better understanding of what your Business Continuity plan covers and why.
Departmental risk mapping
How much risk is being carried by different departments?
Where your risk lies and which departments are affected gives senior management a picture of the state of your operations, and allocate resources accordingly.
Gaps vs. resources
What gaps have been identified through testing and what is the status on the remediation of those gaps (tasks) – mapped to the key resources.
Where are the gaps in your organization’s current Business Continuity plans, and what resources do you have available to address them? Knowing this allows you to prioritize resource allocation effectively.
Continuity training proficiency
How many people have attended Business Continuity Awareness training?
When you know who in the organization has Business Continuity training, you can identify who can be relied on as Business Continuity champions within the business, and what resources you can rely on in different areas of the organization.
What challenges will you face with Business Continuity stats?
Quantifying something as far-reaching and complex as Business Continuity across an entire organization (particularly the complex ones) is a challenge in itself.
Many organizations struggle to boil down all the work that goes into BCM into numbers and metrics, so programs often end up stuck in grey-areas without any statistics to anchor and tie themselves to.
This makes measuring the success of BCM difficult and, from the perspective of senior management, without metrics it’s a more difficult prospect to invest resources in.
What is the biggest obstacle organizations face with their Business Continuity?
As any experienced Business Continuity professional knows, there are, of course, many challenges any BCM program will face.
One of the the biggest obstacles, though, is understanding exactly what stage you are at with your program.
In other words, this boils down to knowing what is complete, what is not, and, importantly, what has or hasn’t been tested. In my experience, this scenario tends to occur because data has not been collected or because the task of understanding capability – i.e., where different teams are in their progress and how comprehensive monitoring of testing programmes is in disparate organizations – can become too onerous.
Issues are further compounded as the processes of manually collecting data becomes part of the role of the BCM teams, taking practitioners away from supporting those in the organization and further into the drudgery of manual data collection.
Essentially, we end up with two obstacles: First, the inability to actually gather the data in an automated and coherent way, and, second, the inability to understand the metrics and data surrounding Business Continuity programs, if those statistics even currently exist.
How does 4C Strategies help organizations with this?
4C works with leading global organizations in the public and private sectors and helps them bring order to their Business Continuity programs with our Exonaut® software.
We’ve found that businesses chose Exonaut because it enables them to effectively map important business services (IBA) and their dependencies and tolerances, then manage workflows, tasks, and signoffs, in one central automated system that then delivers key metrics at a holistic and granular level, all in easy-to-report custom dashboards.
Digitalizing Business Continuity
By using a dedicated digital solution like Exonaut to manage Business Continuity workflows, the platform becomes a connected database of all the captured information you need to answer the questions above.
Tools like Exonaut then enable you to cut and slice the data in any way you wish. This provides unrivalled intelligence at your fingertips, no matter if it’s for briefing the Resilience or Risk Committees, your senior management, or working out what the scenario should be for your next exercise.
Business Continuity, powered by Exonaut
Exonaut supports and automates your Business Continuity, giving you – and your senior management – the metrics needed to measure success.
Customisable dashboards, automated reporting, and real-time visualization support the needs of the different stakeholders involved in ensuring Business Continuity.
For organizations wanting to fully integrate their organizational resilience programme, Exonaut can be used to manage Risk, Business Continuity and Incident & Crisis Management processes and operations.