Business Continuity Roadmap

The graphic below shows the main phases of business continuity planning as a roadmap. This underpins our approach to business continuity plan development. You can see there are six main stages which cover the the development of the plan itself and the management processes that are required, after the business continuity plan has been developed and deployed to ensure that the plan is up to date and remains fit for purpose. Read on below for some further information on each stage in the business continuity roadmap.

0. Project Initiation - getting your business continuity project underway

This initial stage sets out the timeline for development of your business continuity plan and the resources that you will need to deliver the project.  As this stage the most important thing you'll need is a mandate from senior management to get going

Phase 1. Establish Operational priorities and dependencies

This phase of business continuity planning is often called the "business continuity risk assessment" or "business impact assessment" (or "BIA", for short). What's important is not what you call it, the objective is to have a firm grasp of what the important activities are in you organisation, their sensitivity to disruption and the capabilities you need to stop disruptions becoming a catastrophe. In this stage you set the boundaries of the business  continuity project and understand what you need to protect your organisations reputation, customer goodwill and financial health.

Phase 2. Develop Recovery Capabilities

Having established your operational priorities and the intrinsic capabilities you need (such as IT systems, workplace and minimum staffing levels), it's time to take a long hard look at what you are actually capable of and whether these capabilities align with the priorities you identified earlier.  Hopefully, they will - if not some further investment may need to be made in specific areas.

Phase 3. Develop Functional Business Continuity plans

Phase 2 of business continuity planning enabled you to establish what we call "intrinsic business continuity capability" it's the core capability that you need to re-establish an infrastructure that' capable of supporting your business.  However, that's not enough, the parts of your organisation who are delivering your priority activities now need to think through what they need to do under particular circumstances.  This phase is sometimes referred to as developing "departmental business continuity plans" - these are specific action plans that take into account dealing with things like order fulfilment following a disaster, work-in-progress considerations and specific actions to be taken according to dates /times during the business cycle. 

Phase 4. Develop Incident Management Plans

When disaster strikes an overarching approach to gaining command and control of the situation is required. This is normally undertaken by a group of senior management who will be in place to gain an initial understanding of the impact of the incident, whether it requires the invocation of business continuity arrangements and the management of external and internal communications.  

Phase 5. Develop & Deploy Business Continuity Awareness & Assurance Programmes

When you have developed each part of your overall business continuity plan, it's important that you preserve all of your hard work.  The business continuity assurance programme sets out a series of tasks to be performed at regular intervals to ensure that your business continuity plan remains fit for purpose. The business continuity awareness programme is an educational resource that should be deployed throughout the wider organisation, informing them of what they need to know and what they should do during a major incident.

Phase 6. Develop & Deploy Business Continuity Awareness & Assurance Programmes

The last of the phases of business continuity planning are focussed on ensuring that the plan remains fit for purpose.  The only way to do this is by testing the plan. There are many ways options to do this ranging from a basic walkthrough to a comprehensive  "dress rehearsal". Follow the links for more information on types of business continuity testing

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