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Aug 15

The Meat and Potatoes of every Business Continuity program: Picking the right mitigation strategy for the plan

Posted by: Linda Laun in DRJ Blogs

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Linda Laun

Food is a universal language. So is man’s need to survive. Whether in the business world or the kitchen we need a simple recipe for business continuity success. The second “course” of this four part series takes a look at how picking the right strategy for your business continuity plan is key for its success. Also, to help deliver the “main course” I’ve invited a special guest chef -  IBM’s own, Chef Watson. 


Main Course: The Meat and Potatoes of every Business Continuity program: Picking the right mitigation strategy for the plan



The smorgasbord of threats that could impact an organization continually evolve. The potential impact from natural disasters, strikes, power outages and good ol’ human error can cause significant disruption to a company’s business operations. The ability to respond quickly is essential. Analysts estimate that every hour of downtime can cost a business millions of dollars and only 17 percent of organizations have a formal strategy for business continuity that is consistently applied. (7 Essential Practices of Business Continuity Management, 2014) 


With business continuity and resiliency services, companies can determine their risk factors, build resilience into their business operations and develop an effective business continuity and resiliency strategy. However, planning for all of the possible contingencies and details of every threat is impossible, too costly and highly impractical.


So how do you account for the ‘details’ that must be included in your business continuity plan to ‘spice it up’ without those spices ‘ruining the meal’?   Here is a ‘simple recipe’ to help organizations prepare a business continuity plan that isn’t overwhelming with too many ingredients. 





-          Accurate, prioritized business requirements


-          Impact-based scenario planning


-          Standardized business continuity materials




1.      Engage top management to carefully measure which business processes are most likely to contribute to financial impact, reputational harm, and contractual or regulatory breaches. (See the first installment in this series for tips on getting management ‘into the kitchen’.)


2.      Prioritize what’s most important and sift them into continuity service tiers


3.      Separate the threat from the impact—do not focus on an event that rarely happens (e.g. out of your building, workforce stranded), but rather the impact it had on the business.


4.      Bake up continuity strategies aligned to the continuity service tiers needed by the business


5.      Reduce the strain on over-cooked resources by producing easy to consume standardized business continuity materials which much like a good recipe encourage reuse and engage the user rather than leaving a bitter taste


6.      Mix well and assemble the business continuity plan into a centrally available repository to simplify the review and approval process and make it easily accessible


Prioritizing your business processes and focusing on impact planning rather than the threat provides a clearer view of the most critical risks to your business and allows you to make investment tradeoff decisions to mitigate risk that are fact based. This also allows you to focus resources on improving areas with the potential for the highest impact.


For this week’s recipe for recovery, I’ve teamed with IBM’s latest cognitive computing breakthrough, Chef Watson!  You’ve seen Watson on the American TV show, Jeopardy®, now use it to transform your kitchen into a culinary studio.  Here is Chef Watson’s unique ‘meat and potatoes’ recommendation just for us:


Chef Watson is a web application built on IBM’s cognitive cooking technology that has been trained on Bon Appetit® magazine’s database of 9,000 recipes, helping it learn about dishes and ingredient combinations, combined with an understanding of what tastes people prefer, and how the chemistry of different ingredients interact. The app intelligently generates millions of ideas out of the quintillions of possibilities, and then predicts which ones offer the most novel and best food pairings.  Learn more about Chef Watson and cognitive computing at these links:


IBM’s Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson

IBM’s Watson Is Now A Cooking App With Infinite Recipes

Chef Watson and Bon Appétit Magazine


Linda Laun has successfully performed every facet of the business continuity and resilience process for many small to large businesses across a wide variety of industries and the globe.  Today Linda is responsible for architecting and continually improving IBM’s Global Business Continuity Management System that helps ensure IBM’s 400,000 employees in 170 countries and 1600 locations are always ready to stay productive and continue to serve their customers.