Business continuity (or BC for short) is not an optional extra in any industry. And to even start your business continuity planning steps, you need to gain the buy-in of your key stakeholders.
Securing the support of senior management reduces the possibility of running into internal resistance that could stop you from making your vision a reality.
So if you’re starting out on a business continuity plan, here’s how to make sure you can get it off the ground.
Why gaining buy-in is critical for business continuity
If you’re a project manager making a BC plan, you’ll need the support of everybody. Not just those at the top.
Why? Well, because if some people aren’t on board it can compromise the entire strategy. And if you don’t have the support of your senior stakeholders, there may be push-back before the plan is even in motion.
Without that backing, you’re also unlikely to get the funding and resources you need to implement business continuity throughout the organisation.
In truth, for both those scenarios, your business continuity plan won’t meet the strategic requirements you’ve set. Which, in turn, means your business will remain at risk. That’s why it’s worth going above and beyond to get this crucial stakeholder engagement right.
Your first business continuity planning steps
Begin by identifying stakeholders who have the highest levels of influence. Eventually, you will need to bring them together for a meeting to present your strategy to them.
To approach this with confidence, carry out a stakeholder analysis in advance. Learn how your ideas will affect each of them, and what sort of objections they might have.
Prepare to manage their expectations by demonstrating the importance of business continuity to the organisation as a whole. Then outline its relevance to their specific department or business unit.
Demonstrating the financial risk to the business is a great way to do this. With every potential risk or threat that business continuity aims to mitigate, provide data and examples to support the actions you’re suggesting.
Running risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA)
A thorough risk assessment and a strong business impact analysis (BIA) will also be valuable when trying to manage everyone’s expectations.
These are tangible, empirical ways of illustrating the need for comprehensive business continuity, and will help you in gaining buy-in from across the organisation.
Your BIA is a tabletop exercise that demonstrates the risks and their potential impact. But it also highlights the consequences they could have in areas like the supply chain and brand reputation.
Answering objections to your business continuity plan
Impact on budget
Budget concerns are the most common objection you’ll be faced with. Protecting your business from all of today’s various risks and vulnerabilities can be costly, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t remain a top priority.
Here it’s important to refer to your risk assessment. Turn the discussion round to focus on how much a disaster would cost the business if it were allowed to happen. For example, if a number of critical business processes and applications were to fail because of a cybersecurity attack. Compared to the up-front cost, it becomes an easier argument to make.
Disruption to productivity
Interfering with the productivity, and usual running of business operations is another common concern. Installing new systems for cybersecurity or disaster recovery could be seen as a cause of business disruptions in a number of ways.
To overcome these objections, you’ll first need to find the right approach to implementation. You also need the right systems to make sure your business continuity plan doesn’t impact productivity.
Cybersecurity tools are designed to be user-friendly, and when deployed via the cloud their introduction to the organisation can be seamless. Although some team members may be resistant to new security measures or additional authentication processes.
For this reason, it’s critical to plan your communication strategies throughout the business. Make the reasons and thought processes behind each change clear to the entire business as early as possible.
Tips for gaining buy-in with stakeholders
Tell a business continuity story
Crafting a compelling and relatable story is an effective way to get your message across to the business’s senior leadership team.
This can be particularly true with business continuity and disaster recovery. There have been some high-profile cases of global brands suffering the consequences of data breaches and cyber-attacks in recent years.
You can use your story to tie everything together in a way that’s clear and easy to understand. If the data can be supported by a tale that hits close to home, the concept will become more real to your stakeholders.
Align your strategy with company objectives
Map out your business continuity planning steps, and ensure they align with the wider company objectives or business goals. This will help you remove as much potential friction as possible.
The senior leaders will have been the ones who set company objectives, so it’s important to ensure any plans you’re presenting don’t create conflict.
Get third-party validation
There’s an old saying: “A prophet is not accepted in his hometown.”
Understanding how to demonstrate the necessity of business continuity, and knowing how to communicate the change to stakeholders, can be a difficult challenge.
Just yourself and your internal project team may not be enough when it comes to gaining buy-in from the right people.
One tactic here is working with a partner to consult on the current risks you’re facing. Let them help you validate the need for business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
An external, objective opinion could be the deciding factor that senior leaders need to realise the importance of supporting your business continuity plan.
Take your next step towards business continuity
Follow the link below for an infographic of what a good disaster recovery and business continuity plan should look like. You can also discover some more of our insights on digital transformation, and expert guidance on the key platforms your business relies on:
- Infographic: Business continuity vs disaster recovery
- Infographic: Digital transformation explained
- Brand Battle: Citrix vs Azure.
- Brand Battle: VMware vs VirtualBox.