Do Executives Understand a BIA?

“So all we need to know are key points and don’t bother getting all the detailed information, it doesn’t mean anything anyway.”   This is a loosely translated statement but it’s one I heard earlier this week from an executive.    I don’t think he understands what a BIA really is and if he did he obviously didn’t remember that the detail picked up in a BIA provides the high-level that he (and other executives) would want to see. 

It’s a well known fact, or at least it should be, that the BIA will help you build the rest of your BCM program.  It’ll tell you what’s critical and what’s not; what the key skills and skill sets are in the company; what resources you need (people, places, IT etc); the financial impacts if a business unit is ”down”; how long a department can be unavailable before it comes intolerable; and so much more.  For me to to be able to tell this executive what’s important to his company, I need to be able to capture that data that provides a sound reasoning as to why certain processes and departments (and sometime people) are critical to operations.  If I don’t have that material at hand how can he ever expect to know what is critical.

Presenting to executives is one thing; I know they want to see the big picture and the high-level overview but as soon as they see it, there’s always one executive who’ll ask me to justify the findings.  Well, then I have to get into the details.  Though admittedly, part of me would get some morbid satisfaction out of saying something like, “well I can’t tell you that cause you told me not to get that detail.”  Even though that brings as smile to my face it wouldn’t last long, as I’m escorted out of the office.  And really, it’s not supposed to be me, the BCM practitioner who justifies a process, department or Line of Buisiness, it’s them; the department itself that should do that.  The response would be something like this, “I gave you a car but you told me not to worry about the details, so I didn’t put gas in it.”

The BIA offers allot to an organization and its executives.  With above, it’s the details (the gas) that drives you program (the car).


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