Companies across the U.S., and all over the world, are looking for groups within their organizations to either cut or downsize dramatically. If they don’t see you as part of the solution (revenue generation), then you’re part of the problem (costly overhead). And if your company has a separate business continuity group, it’s highly likely that it’s already been hit with reductions, or at the least is facing cuts or elimination soon.
Business continuity groups may be safer if the company works for government agencies. Many public-sector contracts require proof of business sustainability through disaster and outages – especially for firms that have control of the sensitive data. But if that’s not the case in your organization, your BC group may be on the cutting block.
If the projects your company takes on involve working with a lot of outside customers and providers, you may find that you can keep your group intact and even turn it into a revenue generator. Not only can Business Continuity bring value to your organization by drawing new customers and retaining existing ones, it can also serve as a vehicle to cut costs and rid yourself of vendors who aren’t “up to code” in providing the services, security and reliability that you need.
Let’s look at a few uses that can help keep BC key personnel employed, and even make them a revenue-generating group.
- Put your vendors to the test with the BC group. Use business continuity personnel to analyze current and potential vendors to see if they meet your data security and disaster recovery needs. As you focus on your own company’s capabilities, it’s often easy area to overlook the idea that vendors should be held to the same criteria. In any case, it’s a way for the group to show it can help ensure that your company’s not left out in the cold by one of your vendors if a disaster should hit.
- Use the business continuity group as a sales tool for new business. Enlist business continuity personnel – preferably the BC director – to meet with new and prospective clients. Use them to present findings and test data to help “seal the deal.” Then, make them a living, breathing part of your projects at kickoff and beyond as you plan for the worst on your engagements.
- Look for ways to use the business continuity group to leverage cost savings. Utilize its capabilities as leverage with insurance providers and the like. You may find that with the security BC brings to your company, you can negotiate better rates or seek out new providers willing to give you better rates.
- Utilize the business continuity group and its planning tools when reviewing staff reduction scenarios. Across the board cuts are common when a company is in the process of reducing staff. The business continuity group maintains key data within the business and is often the best source of information and scenarios on how internal organizations and data interact. Use this to help plan cutbacks and layoffs that won’t leave your business without key information and personnel if issues should arise.
There’s no getting around it – business continuity is always going to be considered an overhead group if you’re not primarily in the government contracting business. So it’s no surprise that, when really difficult times hit, they’re often seen as a luxury. It takes some creative vision to see it, but with the right responsibilities the BC group can truly become a revenue generator for your company.