This post was originally authored by me for the PM Tips site. The original article is located here.
In today’s economic environment, we’re seeing cutbacks and layoffs across the board. And if you happen to be in an overhead position, well…count your blessings if you’re still employed in some companies.
Your company may have a disaster and recovery planning group in place. Or they may have just dismantled it through a cost-cutting measure. Business Continuity groups like that are probably only safe these days in organizations that tend to do a lot of government contracting. Often government contracts require a business continuity group and disaster and recovery plan to be in place and they’ll require you to prove your abilities to recover from a disaster – especially if you’ll be housing their sensitive data. In these cases the business continuity group actually becomes a revenue generator - not overhead - so they’re not likely to be eliminated.
If you find yourself dealing a lot with outside customers and provide services like data or hosting to these customers – then the business continuity group is not only of value to you but they are also value to your customers and you now is when you need to leverage that with your customers. And you can also utilize this group in new ways within your organization to help them to help you generate new income and/or realize new savings.
So, government contracting aside, let’s look at how this vital group could actually be retained for good cause and financial gain on your projects and with your customers and vendors. Let’s look at four ways your BC group can actually help you – albeit indirectly – generate positive cash flow.
- Use them as a new sales tool for bringing in new business. Enlist business continuity personnel – preferably the BC director – to meet with new clients and prospective clients. Have them present findings and test results and identify disaster and recovery strategies that will work well on the proposed project with that particular customer. You can also have them meet with existing clients – especially if a contract is up for renewal.
- Use the BC group when planning staff reductions. Across the board cuts are common knee-jerk reactions these days when a company is in the process of reducing staff. If you have a good business continuity group in place, they can help you analyze the situation to figure out where cuts can safely be made to cause the least interruption to your projects and business overall. Cuts can be costly to the organization if the wrong cuts are made without proper upfront planning. Have the BC group run scenarios on how the business will react to different downsizing scenarios and find the one that fits best for your organization’s needs.
- Use the business continuity group to analyze YOUR suppliers. Turn the tables and have this very capable group perform tests with your suppliers on their disaster and recover plans. You may find that your current suppliers are leaving you, your projects, and your own customers exposed to potential disasters. You may not realize current benefits from this activity, but you’ll realize priceless benefits should a disaster actually occur.
- Use their presence and expertise to negotiate savings with your insurers. Check with your current insurance carrier. It may be possible to negotiate better rates if you can show them your current disaster recovery plans – or you could switch to an insurer that will give you better rates.
The Business Continuity group is always overhead unless your company performs a lot of government contracting. But they can still be a vital part of your business and can be utilized in ways to actually help your organization generate new revenue and save money in unique ways. Use this group wisely and you’ll remained well positioned in the future to deal with disasters.