BUILDING THE BUSINESS CASE
Measuring the Impact
on the Business
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
— Lewis Carroll
Once your team is in place and the scope of your disaster recovery planning is determined, the next step is to determine exactly what vital functions need to be included in the plan. Can you easily identify the most vital functions? What happens to the business if one or more functions are suddenly unavailable due to a system failure or other disaster? What is the cost if a function is unavailable? Intuitively, some functions must be more valuable than others, but what is that value? How can this value be measured? In a time of scarce resources, which functions need to be heavily protected and which if any can be safely ignored? In a major disaster affecting many functions, which functions are essential for the company’s survival?
All of these questions are pertinent. Often, decisions are based on the perceived value of a particular function when comparing two functions and the resources for only one of them is available. Capital spending, major improvement projects, and, of course, support staff training often are decided by the perceived value that a function provides the company. But what is this value based on? Where are the data that support this value? How old are the data? Has the value provided by a function changed over time?
The problem with the business-as-usual approach is that it is based on a limited understanding or personal whim—not on the facts. A long-time manager might be acting on “rules-of-thumb” or assumptions that were valid at one time, but may not be any longer. A new manager lacks the “institutional knowledge”