Q

Guidelines for business continuity planning

For a company that produces software, which steps do you think are appropriate to include in a business continuity plan?
As with most organizations, the essential business processes are the ones that must resume as quickly as possible and should therefore be included at the top of the priority list in the business continuity plan. Those are typically the processes that contribute the most to the organization's critical success factors; they are the revenue generating processes. This would typically include sales, accounting (payables & receivables), etc. A steady revenue flow and paid suppliers make the recovery effort quite a bit easier. Although not a revenue generating process, payroll should also be included for obvious reasons (unless you staff consists primarily of volunteers).

The organization must then protect its public image by ensuring public relations, customer support, etc., are covered as well. It takes a lot less time to tarnish a reputation than it takes to build one.

Development is listed last but should not be systematically considered of lesser importance. This is especially true if your organization is working on a project for which time to market is crucial or depends heavily on development for customer support.

Business continuity planning is a vast and complex subject that cannot be summarized in a few lines. However, focusing on quickly resuming the business processes and functions that have the most impact on an organization is a good starting point.

This was first published in May 2005

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