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June 22, 2009

BCP in a Down Economy

Written by  Edward (Ted) Brown, CBCP, CBCV
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bcp_mast.jpgBusiness Continuity is even MORE critical in a Down Economy. Why? We’ll discuss that at another time.

Today we’d like to discuss funding…how to maintain it, how to increase it, and how to pay for new projects.

Packaging – Regardless of what you need to enhance your BCP program, packaging multiple solutions, even from different vendors, will save you money. And, it’s easier to get one approval than three. Suppose you need a software-planning tool, or an Emergency Notification Product, consulting help, or a Hot Site. By packaging all of them together, you’ll get a better deal. But, do not get locked in to one vendor though, for all solutions. You can still have a packaged solution with multiple vendors. Various vendors have partnerships that will allow them to give you a packaged solution from different companies. If your prime vendor won’t do that, pick another prime, or you’ll be sorry in the future when you have an additional requirement.

Want to go to the DRJ Conference but don’t have the money? You can package attendance with consulting. Or, you can become a speaker and attend for free.

Hot Site Contracts – There used to be just the “big three” major commercial Hot Site vendors, plus a couple niche providers. Today, there are a thousand. And many have the capabilities of the “big two or three.” If your contract is up for renewal in the next year or so, you can negotiate savings to pay for other projects like consulting or software. Better yet, package these solutions with your Hot Site. The best way to negotiate these savings is with a professional that guarantees you results and only charges you a percentage of the savings. Even if your contract is not up for renewal, you may be able to negotiate a better deal (especially with a professional). The following is not recommended, but desperate times call for desperate measures. You can negotiate additional hot site services for free, or save money for other projects by extending your current Hot Site agreement, regardless of when it expires. You’re better off to let your contract expire, and negotiate a new/better contract, even if it’s with the same vendor.

Telecommunications – If your organization spends a lot of money (most do) on voice and data communications, you can save money or package a BCP solution, like software or consulting. You have two choices to accomplish this. First, like Hot Site services, you can hire a professional negotiator, who will get you a better deal for a share of the savings. Or, you can outsource these services to a professional organization that will manage the carriers for you, save you money (guaranteed), or enhance your BCP.

Other Peoples’ Money (OPM) – The best way to secure funds for new BCP projects is to gain allies within your organization to help you seek money or pay for the solution with their budget. For example, one of KETCHConsulting’s IT clients was trying to acquire an Emergency Notification Tool, but they had no budget. During Katrina, this company was unable to communicate with hundreds of employees for weeks. As a result, and by educating the Human Resources Vice President, we were able to get HR to buy the Notification product.

At another client, an Emergency Notification tool was justified by IT Operations to improve production and availability. Critical Application teams were defined, in the tool Data Base, which included DBA’s, Application Programmers, Systems Programmers, etc. When an outage occurs in the Data Center, all the critical resources can be instantly notified and found, reducing down time.

Security may be a source of funds for a Notification Tool in case of workplace violence, or some other emergency.

Sales may be a partner because of SLA’s (Service Level Agreements), or for emergency notification to customers, for product recalls, or new product offerings. Communications, Legal, and Finance may be on your side because of potential fines, product recalls, or customer, stakeholder, and media communications.

Procurement could see the value of a Notification Tool for efficient and rapid communications with suppliers.

Teleworking as defined by ITAC (the International Teleworking Advisory Council) is working anywhere but a traditional office, such as home, coffee shop, library, in the airport van, or at a client. You should convince the management of the critical people, identified by your BIA, that they should be able to work from home, for productivity reasons. When you accomplish this, you’ll have a BCP solution paid for by the user departments. It’s also the best solution for a Pandemic. And it will be tested frequently, because every time they work from home, they will have executed a successful test. You can even use Teleworking to recover your call center, with an alternate switch, Voice over IP, and “soft phones.”

Develop a partnership with your facilities department. Educate them on the value of teleworking to reduce office space, save money, and create a BCP. Also, they may be aware of empty facilities that can be used as a “free” recovery center. Plus, if you get them onboard with your BCP, they’ll be your ally when they realize that your BCP may eliminate the requirement for them to quickly find alternative space at a premium.

Billing Accommodations – Many vendors will provide a service now for payment later, e.g., deferred billing for consulting or a reduced price Hot Site contract while a plan is put in place. Also, most BCP solutions can be financed.

2009 is a tough year for everyone. But don’t let the economy slow the progress of your BCP. Whether it’s packaging, contract negotiations, OPM, or billing accommodations, there’s a solution out there for you.

About the author: Edward (Ted) Brown III is President & CEO of KETCHConsulting, a BCP and DR Consulting firm headquartered in Pennsylvania, but National and International in scope. Both Mr. Brown and KETCHConsulting are members of the BCP Hall of Fame. You can reach Mr. Brown at 570-563-0868, or PO BOX 641, Waverly, PA 18471, or at TedBrown@KETCHConsulting.com.

MORE INFORMATION: View the BCP in a Down Economy Webinar.  


 

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