The number one challenge facing BCP professionals today
remains getting upper management buy-in. The events of September 11 have
raised awareness of the exposures, but there still are organizations without
a commitment to BCP.
Often, the reason for this lies in the presentation given
to obtain support.
There is so much compelling data that BCP professionals
wish to convey to upper management that they sometimes get lost in the
information, packing hundreds of pages of data into their presentations.
Planners would have a great deal more success if they treated their meetings
with upper management as sales calls, using techniques that a good salesperson
uses with clients.
The following steps should be taken when planning a presentation
seeking to gain management support of a business continuity program.
1. Document the Objectives
It is not enough to have an objective of getting more funding or gaining
executive support. Determine ahead of time exactly how much funding is
needed, or exactly what form the executive support should take.
2. Verify Expectations
Determine what management's expectations for the meeting are, and also
verify the time allotted. Frequently, last-minute circumstances will shorten
the time available. Find out the schedule before the meeting to prevent
being cut off prematurely.
3. Be Prepared to Take What You
It makes more sense to get the commitment for resources to achieve a 24-hour
recovery time objective (RTO) than to demand the resources for a two-hour
RTO and get nothing.
4. Anticipate Objections
Instead of hoping the executives don't ask "How much?", realize that the
number one objection is the cost, and prepare accordingly. Let the results
of the business impact analysis (BIA) justify the "investment" (not "cost").
5. Gather References
Executives care what their competition is doing. Annual benchmark studies
and salary surveys are good sources of information on the investments
in BCP being made by industry, by size of organization, etc.
6. Prepare 'Scare Tactics'
Without being sensational, remind the executives of the regulations that
affect their business, and the impact of not complying with them. Examples
of such regulations are Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Also research companies that have been damaged
significantly in highly publicized news stories because of their failure
to act responsibly.
7. Define the Risk/Reward of BCP
Upper management is used to making ROI decisions. Research and develop
the business continuity program's return on investment. This is a key
part of a good presentation.
8. Package Resources
Work with vendors who can package consulting or software into their alternate
site, hardware, or infrastructure equipment solution. It's easier to get
one purchasing approval than three, and this will likely save money in
the long run, as well.
9. Recruit Partners
The "sales call" will have greater success if other departments within
the organization support the BCP program. The power of a presentation
supported by marketing, IT security, physical security, human resources,
facilities, and risk management is highly significant.
10. Use the Visibility of the Internet
The Internet can be a great tool to increase the visibility of the BCP
program. Within security constraints, a BCP home page can be developed
that serves as the portal for all aspects of the program. This increased
visibility yields increased support and commitment.
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