When to Use a BIA Template

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.

Breaking Up Amazon Into 613,300 Pieces

Concentrated wealth/power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many undermines any legitimate claim of democracy (i.e. a government of the people, by the people, for the people). And the problem of billionaires buying government access/influence has become a major political issue ever since Bernie Standers made it the centerpiece of his 2016 Presidential run.

In recent days progressive Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has been pounding the table over the possibility of breaking up (diluting the wealth/power) of big tech firms such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. But exactly how that break up should occur is still a matter of conjecture.

A Simple Solution

In that light I offer a simple solution to the complex problem of monopolistic monstrosities concentrating more and more wealth and power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. Instead of breaking them up into smaller, less monopolistic pieces, why not encourage Amazon (who paid $0 in 2018 Federal taxes*) with its 613,300 employees, to become employee owned?

After all, there are currently over 10,000 employee owned companies in the US today. And generally speaking they are uniquely efficient, productive, and resilient in hard times because their financial incentives are situated in such a way that it literally pays everyone to pull together at the same time, in the same direction, towards the same goal.

Moreover, when an employee owned company wins, EVERYONE WINS, not just those fortunate few at the top. And when an employee owned company loses, EVERYONE LOSES, not just those unfortunate many at the bottom. In the process the conventional, antagonistic, counterproductive labor vs management problems are systematically eliminated.

So, How Do Employees Pay for Their Stock?

You might wonder how Amazon employees, many of whom have little to no savings or home equity, would be able to pay for stock in the company they work for. The answer is, if they use a strategy known as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (an ESOPs) employees are allowed to collateralize their stock purchase using the companies’ future earnings (in investment circles this is known as a leveraged buyout/LBO) instead of digging into savings or putting a second mortgage on the family home.

Furthermore, in an ESOP stock purchases are made with PRE-TAX DOLLARS which speeds up the purchasing process, as well as the road to ownership dramatically. And with employees maintaining their wage or salary while generating a second (or a retirement) income via their new found stock ownership, it expands the tax base for all levels of government. That is to say, more people will be able to pay taxes.

Finally employee ownership stabilizes the community. Just ask the owners of the Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team that is community owned and will never leave Green Bay, WI.

Who Would Object?

So who would object to this simple solution? Surely not Republicans (including Ronald Reagan), all of whom favor grass roots, free market, private ownership solutions over government dominated, public ownership solutions to any problem. And surely not Democrats (including Bernie Sanders) all of whom favor democratizing the workplace and spreading (decentralizing) the wealth into the hands of the many. And surely not independents, all of whom are sick and tired of the partisan bickering between two parties who can’t seem to agree on anything.

Even Amazon owner Jeff Bezos would almost have to agree. I mean he already has more money than he can possibly count. And why would he want to go to his grave known as a greedy, monopolistic, 21st century skin flint who helped to demolish American democracy?

And once Amazon is on board we should have similar conversations with Facebook (36,000 employees), Microsoft (135,000 employees), Google (99,000 employees), Apple (132,000 employees), Wal-Mart (2.1 million employees), and McDonalds (1.9 million employees), Goldman Sachs (36,600 employees), Citi Bank (204,000 employees), Wells Fargo (258,700 employees) just to mention a few.

*P.S. It’s interesting to note that although Amazon’s profit was in excess of 1 Billion dollars last year, they paid precisely $0.00 in Federal taxes. And due to Trump’s tax cut for billionaires and corporations, Amazon either has or expects to receive a $789,000,000 REFUND!!!!!

Earthquake Preparedness Month Inspires Public Service Campaign for Business Continuation

Earthquake Is Overdue

Here in the earthquake country of Southern California, the “big one” is now more than 20 years overdue.

And the best estimates indicate that if it hit today, 25-50% of small businesses would not survive.

The impact of the failure of a small business – or any business, for that matter – is felt widely. Even if no people are harmed physically, when disaster hits and a business fails,

  • Clients lose their source of products or services.
  • Suppliers and professional advisors lose a customer.
  • Employees are suddenly without any income.

The owner, of course, loses the asset, perhaps his reputation, and the future that the business promised.

Lack of Planning Dooms Businesses

Statistics on surviving a disaster are only estimates, because some businesses hang on for weeks or months after the emergency before they go under.

But research indicates that two factors play a significant role in determining the chances of survival.

  1. Lack of a suitable plan. A good plan anticipates potential threats, identifies essential functions, and lets employees know what is expected of them in the case of business interruption. A Gartner poll (2009) reported that only 35 % of small businesses had a comprehensive plan in place. Moreover, many plans overlook the key element of communications DURING and AFTER the disaster, when phone lines and electricity are out.
  2. Lack of practicing the plan. A thick plan on the shelf serves no purpose and may even give people a false sense of security. People need to know what has to be done to keep the business alive – and they need to know they can actually do it. A Harris poll of over 2000 working adults found that three-quarters of them said that their company had not conducted any emergency drills.

In the face of doubt or ambiguity, the first instinct of employees will be to abandon the workplace to get home to their families — leaving the business to its fate.

Missing Pieces Campaign

What is the solution? One way to improve the odds is to have business leaders take the initiative in sharing business continuation planning information with their own customers and suppliers.

A “Missing Pieces” campaign focuses on shortcomings of Business Continuation Planning as mentioned above. Selected business are mailed a letter laying out the issue and offering a free package of materials that they can use for themselves and forward to business connections.

Basing the message on existing relationships adds urgency and credibility to the campaign – and gives everyone a better chance of ensuring that the company can stay alive following a disaster.