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Articulating Value as a Business Continuity Professional

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Many of our colleagues are struggling in their role as a BCM Professional. They feel undervalued, underutilized and like they aren’t contributing to their organization. Some weren’t engaged or consulted during the pandemic. Others worry about the future of their role. How can they demonstrate value to their organization?

RTT delivered a webinar during BCI Education week in September 2021 - view recording on the BCI website Join a panel of industry leaders as we explore ways to:

  • Become a trusted partner and thought leader

  • Build relationships across the business

  • Future-proof your role

  • Demonstrate the value that you bring

RTT wrote an article for the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) - article on BCI website

If you are a Business Continuity or Resilience professional and you wonder what your future role will look like, or if you struggle to articulate your value to senior management and the business overall, this article is for you. Lisa Jones and Milena Maneva share key findings from the Articulating Value Working Group, which was initiated in early May 2021 by the BCI Americas Awards Winner 2021 (Consultant) Mark Hoffman, weeks before RTT was established.

The past year has been extremely challenging, with COVID-19, working remotely or from an alternate location, going through several lockdowns and restrictions, our lives as individuals and business continuity professionals will never be the same. Many organizations realized the importance of Business Continuity (BC), invested further in their existing BC programs or opted for business continuity professional services or consulting. Yet, our industry also experienced many layoffs of business continuity practitioners. Operational Resilience is a huge focus for many organisations with the upcoming Operational Resilience Policy from FCA, PRA and Bank of England effective from 31st March 2022. Some feel like this is another trend which will cast a shadow on business continuity. Others believe that this will be an opportunity for business continuity professionals to shine. Regardless of what the future holds, we believe that there is an opportunity to shape the future normal together and inspire others to embed resiliency.

How to increase value as a BC professional?

Although organizations are expressing interest in operational resilience, Business Continuity continues to be a driving methodology as Covid-19 affects our world and industries. Instead of Business Continuity Management (BCM) programs being relegated as a “check the box” compliance exercise, practitioners must rise to meet the ever-challenging needs for organizations to be resilient. BCM cannot go backwards. Instead as practitioners, we should revisit our strategies and implement updated approaches of our foundational methodology to maintain the availability of critical business functions, data, and technology systems. Now is the time to review our program’s strategies, tactical elements, and operational elements to ensure we are adding value. Features such as wordy unactionable paper documents, lengthy BIA surveys or hard to interpret metrics, does a disservice to the work we perform as practitioners. With our unique position of access to many aspects within an organization, we can identify gaps and bring together siloed departments who don’t understand or know the dependencies they share.

Practitioners must continue to expose themselves to other disciplines and incorporate it within planning. Including elements from various business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis management, cyber security, emergency response, and enterprise risk management, can enhance a strategic approach. We also need to continue to be curious about the challenges our organization face.

How to align to your organization

Business Continuity Planning is not a one size fits all solution. Whether you are following a BC standard or have been certified to a standard, e.g. ISO-22301, BC professionals need to align the program with their organization by asking themselves a few key questions:

  • “Should we do THIS; does this fit our organization?”

  • “Do I understand my business and the key services, products, activities and functions?”

  • “Do I understand who and what are the biggest earners?”

  • “What makes money for my organization?“

  • “What do I need to protect?”

  • “Do I understand the culture?”

  • “What is my organization’s risk tolerance?”

If your business is global/regional, ask yourself:

  • “Do I understand the regional culture?”

  • “Does my BCM strategy work across regions or are there certain regulatory requirements necessary to be met? “

  • “What is the maturity level per site/per region?”

Communicate according to the style and culture of the organization. The maturity of your program will influence how you go about things. Don’t focus on matching the “Standard”. Tailor your program to fit your organization.

Key points to remember

  • Challenge the status-quo!

  • Question your assumptions!

  • Strong leadership is crucial!

  • Be a trusted partner and lead through change, disruption and planning!

  • We ‘coach up’ by getting little wins where we can, perhaps with smaller stakeholders.

  • Build relationships across the business. Use BCP Champions.

  • Communicate according to the style and culture of the organization.

  • Build allies across all departments.

What can you do differently?

  • You must know how to rapidly assess your organization.

  • Get to the point!

  • Aim to be actively involved in the recovery of the company / business operations.

  • Aim to be more relevant. Tie our actions to risks raised by the organization.

  • Gain followers, gain momentum, gain influence.

  • Shadow the business. Be a partner. This will help you understand the context of the information they provide in the BIA and will help you write better plans. Shadowing also builds relationships.

  • Mastering BC Core Concepts is a must if you are going to have the necessary expertise to accomplish the desired results.

  • There are fundamental components of every effective business continuity process which need to be in place. Learn what and how to measure results which raise the significance of your program.

Your plans, BCP, BIAs, playbooks

  • Avoid impersonal BIA Surveys. They don’t build relationships and don’t gather the information you need. They’re a pain in the butt to those who fill them out. They are often incomplete or quickly can become out of date. Other than that, they’re fine.

  • Make plans relevant. Ask the question “Let’s be honest – are you going to use this plan as it’s written?” If not – change it. This requires a high level of self-confidence and emotional maturity to be able to ask the question (and hear the answer).

  • Add value by focusing on areas where you are needed most.

  • BCP is a combination of customer service, marketing and education.

  • BCP is NOT a compliance checklist. It’s about being more resilient.

  • Don’t be afraid to focus on the customer and other stakeholders.

  • Help the business understand that in the BIA – we collect valuable data. Share it! This demonstrates value and builds relationships.

  • Don’t mistake page count for value.

  • We need fewer plans and smaller plans….guidelines, playbooks.

  • Don’t be afraid to remodel your plans.

  • Plans should be less tactical, more strategic. Less prescriptive, more principle based.

Be creative, be innovative in the new digital era:

People and management love dashboards. They can be used for governance (tracking progress), impact and resilience. More graphics, less text.

We should be able to promote, speak up and sell what we do for our organization, we should know how to negotiate, encourage, influence, and speak the same language with various teams. Embedding Business Continuity, building operational resilience and making a difference is why we are in this profession.

We hope that after reading this, you will be able to articulate your value as Business Continuity professional and write success stories!

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