A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is a key and fundamental part of the Business Continuity planning process. The BIA is part of the planning life cycle that allows the Business Continuity professional understand the organisation. It is often referred to as the foundation of business continuity planning, as it forms the basis for the plans and drives determination of recovery strategies.
Conducting a BIA can be done in many different ways. The scale and scope of a BIA may vary from organisation to organisation. It can vary depending on what direction the BC Policy spells out. Hence there is no “one size fits all” solution to conducting a BIA. There are a number of choices you have when you approach conducting a BIA:
- Purchase off the shelf BC Software, that contains a BIA module.
- Create bespoke BIA software that is tailored to your organisational requirements.
- Produce a BIA questionnaire in MS Word or MS Excel.
- Use one of the many BIA Excel or Word Templates that are available on line.
Of the four choices, they all have advantages and disadvantages and whilst one choice may be applicable for one organisation, it may not be the right fit for another organisation. The use of a pre-prepared MS Word or MS Excel BIA Template, does have it’s uses and here’s why it may be a good fit for your BC planning needs.
Not all businesses require a lot of resources tied up in an expensive BIA process. Smaller organisations may find an existing BIA template that fulfills their requirements in terms of understanding the organisation. A well constructed template designed for a particular industry type, can often be strong enough to be suitable for many organisations within that industry type.
What often works well, is when an organisation employs a consultant Business Continuity professional with a wide range of industry experience, to assist in implementing a Business Continuity Management program. The consultant may introduce a BIA template, with which he is very familiar, and that he feels will be a good fit for the organisation. His skill and experience with the template is often enough to lead to a successful outcome.
In summary, a BIA template such as an MS Excel BIA, may to too simplistic to cater for the needs and requirements of a large and complex organisation. But for smaller, well structured, organisations, a simple BIA Template can be the most appropriate and efficient way to do a BIA.