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Are you looking to improve your organizational resiliency? Have you considered working with a business continuity advisor to help improve your business continuity program (BCP)?

Business continuity management (BCM) is a growing and ever-evolving practice. The reality is, even if you’re a professional, there’s a lot to learn. Working closely with a BC advisor can help you navigate the labyrinth of enterprise business continuity.

A business continuity expert can serve as a partner to facilitate conversations, help set goals, and keep you on track to achieve greater maturity for your program.

According to the 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study, more than 50% of organizations utilize one or more BC advisory or consulting services.

Here are some key benefits of working with a BC advisor and some questions you should ask to ensure you’re getting the most out of your partnership:

1. Business Continuity Subject Matter Expertise and Current Best Practices
Like all professions, even the most highly trained business continuity professionals can benefit from working with advisors who have subject matter expertise and who stay current on industry best practices. With an advisor by your side, you have a bonus wealth of knowledge to supporting your own expertise.

Questions to ask:

  • Is your advisor up-to-date on the current state of continuity regulations, standards and practices?
  • Does your advisor dedicate time to self-education about new and emerging trends? 
  • Has your advisor or other team members written papers, blogs, presented at industry conferences? 
2. Flexibility as Your Program Evolves

Your business is ever-evolving and your BC program should be able to evolve with it. Flexibility is key. An advisor provides support as changes occur with personnel, strategic enterprise goals, software vendors, etc., so these evolutions don’t create avoidable gaps.

Questions to ask:

  • As you grow and change, can your advisor’s team grow with you?
  • Is your business continuity management platform flexible?
  • Can your advisor’s team and software expand with you including access to qualified individuals, tools, and resources you need when you have to take on new tasks?
3. New Skills and Resources

Although business continuity has been around for about 40 years, it’s still a changing and evolving landscape. That means you should always have the ability to learn about what’s happening in the industry and how it can directly affect your organization. Your advisor can serve as an education resource, enable you to grow in your own expertise.

Questions to ask:

  • Does your advisor support you with education and learning opportunities?
  • Do they give you access to whitepapers, webinars, blogs, and other learning resources?
  • Are you exposed to new skills or emerging industry best practices?
  • Does your advisor gather information through his/her own work experiences and then share that with you?
  • Has your advisor given you feedback or suggestions that could improve your program based on other engagements the advisor has had with similar clients?

4. A Second Perspective

Sometimes you just need a fresh pair of eyes to look over a situation and provide recommendations to make it stronger or point out something you might have missed. An outside perspective from a BC advisor can recognize critical gaps that you or your team may have otherwise missed.

Questions to ask:

  • Does your advisor supply you with unbiased and honest assessments?
  • Is your advisor comfortable enough to tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear?

5. Time Efficiency and New Direction

When you implement a business continuity management platform within your organization, its efficiency means you may have more time to focus on other priorities you may have been neglecting.

Questions to ask:

  • Does your advisor help you evaluate where you can focus more time within your BC program?
  • Does your advisor help take some of the BC program lift off of you so you can concentrate on other important tasks?

6. Catalyst for Change

A good advisor is always looking for ways to help improve your BC program and make it more efficient.

Questions to ask:

  • Is your advisor working as a positive catalyst for change, not just for your program, but business continuity in general?
  • Is your advisor sharing exposure to best practices and lessons learned from other organizations so you can apply them to improving your program?
  • Has your advisor served as an advocate for your program to your executive team?
  • Has your advisor supplied recommendations for improving your program and advice for addressing these improvements with your executives or board?

Their Experience, Your Benefits

Business continuity program advisors are subject matter experts with years of experience and perspective. Most advisors have worked in many industries including regulated and non-regulated industries and public organizations. If your current BC advisor isn’t meeting your needs, it may be a sign that it’s time to break up with your existing business continuity management vendor.

If you ask most advisors, they will likely tell you they’ve seen the “good, bad and ugly,” in business continuity. They know what can go wrong, and what can go right. Their expertise and perspective can help you avoid the bad and ugly. 

Remember, when you look for a BC advisor, choose carefully, listen intently, and take advantage of their expertise. In the end, your program will benefit greatly.

For more great industry information, download the full report from the 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study:

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Topics: Business Continuity

Mike Jennings, VP of Advisory Services

Written by Mike Jennings, VP of Advisory Services

Mike leads the Assurance Advisory Services team. During his more than 26 years of business continuity management, disaster recovery and enterprise risk management experience, he has mentored clients and helped them solve their program needs. Mike has worked extensively with clients throughout the world on their BCM programs, including their underlying incident management and crisis management programs.

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