John Stagl weighs into an ongoing debate which is taking place on Continuity Central about what the role of the business continuity planner is.
We have over the past couple of decades developed an entire industry of business continuity planners and planning trainers to help companies deal with unanticipated events that can impact a company’s performance in the market place. This entire effort is founded on the assumption that companies will go out of business without these plans in place. Too often, these plans are developed by individuals who do not have access to, nor completely understand the strategic goals and pressures impacting the company. In most cases these well intentioned individuals do not even understand the dynamics of the competitive market in which the company functions every day. Even more importantly, these ‘planning individuals’ have not been trained to look for external factors that may influence the success of their company as part of their planning efforts. They have been educated to believe that all of the information they need is present within the company and known by the various levels of management in that company. The consequence of this naïve orientation is a business continuity plan document that is obviously lacking in fundamental information to achieve the company’s goals and long term success.
For years these planners have been trying to find ways to convince upper management that this planning effort is valuable to the company. At the same time professional and certification groups staffed with individuals who have also been trained with this inadequate planning method have created ‘standards’ of best practices for companies. Auditing firms, sometimes with a profound lack of complete business understanding, have embraced these planning methods and standards as critical factors that must be present in order for a company to be managed effectively. The result is a planning process within a company that is still, after all of these years, viewed as a necessary expense and not an asset.