If you’re like me, you gets lots of emails concerning Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response advertisements. I even see lots of adverts in the industry journals and magazine’s; all of which say that the product they’re selling will help you with this problem or that problem. Many even say that with their product you’ll be able to communicate better. I’m not so sure about that last part.
Yes, online applications and software can certainly help put messages’ together and disseminate the messages to a plethora of audiences. Yet, just because you’re using an online tool or application it does not mean you’ll automatically become a great communicator or even be able to communicate effectively. These applications are just tools to leverage to make some aspects easier and ensure timely communications. They aren’t to be considered saviours or that answer to all your prayers.
Applications do not have the one thing that it needs to be 100% effective; there is no human element or aspect to it. Many organizations will pay large sums of money of software that promised to build them a BCM/DR program yet it only spits out specific information based on algorithms and formula’s built in to it based on responses to questions. So far, applications have not been able to analyse or take into account human elements when spitting out findings and reports – and as many do, what you need to do when a disaster occurs.
In most cases, its general information which isn’t flexible based on the situation at hand. But organizations – the sellers and too often the purchaser – will believe that the application software will answer all their questions and help them during a disaster. Yes, it can make things easier in some respects – especially for maintenance purposes and prioritizing processes – even identifying specific resource requirements but it can’t tell you what to do when a specific situation happens. They are under the false pretense that their answers will be automatic – or that automated?
They hide behind the technology to do all the work but when it comes to disasters, software applications can only help provide basic information and without the human elements taken into account, can’t provide the full picture of what you need, when you need it and where you’ll be doing it.
Believe it or not, recall overhearing an individual at an industry gather commenting that their application didn’t do what it was supposed to when they experienced an incident. Really? They put all their faith into an inanimate object – in this case it was BCM/DR software – to answer all their questions and solve all their problems. So instead of leveraging the software to help them, they determined that the software would ‘do it all’ for them. Well, it can’t. Instead of standing up to face the incident, they were hiding behind the technology in the vain hope it would solve the problem.
That’s not how BCM/DR software works; it can’t solve all the problems. It gives the information based on its input. It doesn’t – and can’t yet to my knowledge – behave like a rational person and take into account incident specifics, which change from incident to incident.
So if you have BCM/DR software, don’t fall into that trap. It’s a tool to leverage not a tool that builds you’re program. It’ll certainly help build your program and assist with maintenance and storage of date but it won’t solve problems. Just because you have software in place doesn’t mean you have a program in place.
© StoneRoad 2014
A.Alex Fullick has over 18 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Heads in the Sand” and “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”