BCM & DR: When to Use Software

Often, when an organization initiates its Business Continuity Management (BCM) / Disaster Recovery (DR) program, it a pretty manual process: documents, power points and spreadsheets abound. They look good and they serve a purposes but when the program needs to mature and grow, the manual maintenance and monitoring processes just can’t keep up properly. Suddenly, the person responsible – use is usually only assigned to BCM/DR part time – can’t keep up and things begin to fall apart. It’s time for some help to automate the BCM process to keep it current and maintainable (not just the plans being maintained).

So where do you start and what needs to be considered when determining what software is best for you? Here are some helpful tips to consider when you get to that point.

  1. Know Your Requirements: Know what you want the software to do for you.
  2. Know What the Software Capabilities: Identify what the software can do and match that to your requirements.
  3. Don’t Stay Focused on a Single Software: There are lots of products, so don’t get stuck on just one. Look at as many as you can.
  4. Have Selection Criteria: If you’re looking at many products, understand and develop how you’ll be selecting the best product. Have selection criteria determined so you can accurately measure the benefits – and drawbacks – of each product.
  5. Have a Timetable: If you’re determined to have a product in place, determine when you want it, as it could impact maintenance processes. If you take 6 months to select and product, you may end up delaying some reviews and maintenance work because you’re focusing all your attention on getting a product.
  6. Understand the Set up and Training: You may need to take some training classes on the use of the tool and there may be time required to setup and configure the tool to your environment. Even then, you may also need to train the end-uses on the tools, as you can’t just implement it and expect them to know how to use it.
  7. Tools Won’t Fix Existing Problems: If you’ve got ‘problems’ with you program such as executive buy-in, then an application won’t suddenly fix your problems. Don’t think that an application suddenly fixes everything.
  8. It’s Doesn’t Make Decisions: People sometimes think that an application will make all the decisions for them but all it does is help you; it’s an aid to help not make decisions. Don’t get confused with that.
  9. Understand Maintenance: With or without a tool, you need to maintain your program and know up front how that’s going to happen, who will do it and when. And don’t forget, sometimes the tool itself needs an update so keep in touch with your vendor about such things.

Remember, an application is intended to help you not complete you or your organization. You don’t simply pull something off the shelf and go with it; it takes time and effort to get the right product to meet your needs. Like buying a house, you don’t go with the first thing you see; you go through your list of requirements, view many properties and then make the right decision when all – or most – of your requirements are met. Use that same approach and you’ll get the right product for you and your organization; take the first thing you see and you may regret it down the road.


© StoneRoad 2015

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.”


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