Business Continuity Tip of the Month

The soft option

There are a number of Business Continuity software tools on the market, some of which claim to simplify the planning process or even to do it all for you! And whilst there can occasionally be advantages in using such software (e.g. for a large organisation with numerous plans to maintain and dedicated Business Continuity staff to do it) for many there are a number of distinct disadvantages. These include : Cost : Some software is extremely expensive, often with an ongoing annual maintenance fee on top of the purchase price.

  • Training : More often than not, users have to be trained before the software can be put to use. And, because the software is used infrequently, refresher courses are often required. The training overhead (and the associated cost) can be significant. Or worse still, the Business Continuity manager ends up maintaining everyone’s plans for them – the exact opposite of what most Business Continuity managers want!
  • Inflexibility : Often the package and its associated methodology, rather than the user, dictates the format of the plans produced. The resulting plans are sometimes large, containing lots of repeated or superfluous data, or not particularly user-friendly, resulting in them being difficult to use (or, worse still, ignored) when it really matters, i.e. when trying to use them for real.

It may be that you have a compelling reason for using software, and that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. So by all means look into whether or not it’s right for you. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that software will do all the work for you – it won’t. And don’t be fooled into thinking that a software package is a substitute for knowledge or experience. Think about it – in the same way that buying a copy of Word won’t make you into an instant novelist, buying a Business Continuity planning software package won’t guarantee a Business Continuity plan that’s any good.