Getting the most from a BCP test and exercise budget in tough financial times

Piggy Banks for saving money

In the face of economic austerity, stagnant growth, and other pressing financial challenges, organizations might be tempted to divert resources from their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) testing and exercises to other perceived priorities. Yet, as readers of this blog are well aware, BCP exercises and testing are integral to the very core of a business’s operations. The real challenge lies in convincing some corporate leaders of this fact.

While certain businesses compelled by government regulations or those that have experienced incidents are more likely to stay committed to their testing and exercise programs, even they may question the financial investment involved. In such circumstances, senior management might look toward their BCP and Internal Controls teams to bear more responsibility for exercises and testing, all in the name of cost-saving.

If this shift in responsibility occurs, what can internal staff do to rise to the occasion, ensuring practical exercises while keeping costs in check? Let’s explore a few practical options:

  1. Leveraging External Consultants Efficiently: While aiming to cut costs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that external BCP consultants should be excluded. Instead, consider using their services more judiciously. Their expertise can be invaluable in providing guidance, mentorship, and insights without having them manage the entire exercise process.
  2. Embracing Smaller-Scale Exercises: Internal Business Resilience managers can opt for smaller, more manageable exercise projects to deliver value within constrained budgets. By focusing on high-priority business processes and breaking down complex simulation exercises into shorter drills, table-top exercises, and document walkthrough meetings, the cost and preparation of exercises can become less burdensome.
  3. Recycling Exercises for Ongoing Benefit: The fluid nature of organizational teams, especially in challenging economic times, can be an opportunity. Although staff turnover poses challenges, it also enables more frequent recycling of previous exercises. For example, you can build an exercise library by retaining planning and scripting materials from past BCP exercises. However, adapting these materials to reflect current business changes while keeping overall objectives intact requires careful planning.
  4. Reusing Checklists and Diary Events: Another strategy in delivering recycled exercises is utilizing the checklists and diary events that facilitated previous activities. These can ensure that all key tasks are completed, and nothing falls through the cracks, promoting a streamlined and effective process.
  5. Budgeting Based on Historical Data: When preparing a budget for a recycled exercise, it’s essential to understand the necessary resources and funds. Retaining records from previous exercises that outline the resources and costs needed provides a solid foundation. While considering current pricing and resource availability, this historical data can substantiate budget requests, subject to appropriate adjustments to suit present circumstances.

In conclusion, maintaining BCP resilience during austerity requires creativity, strategic planning, and effective resource allocation. While the challenges are real, they can be met with innovative approaches that balance the need for rigorous testing and cost-conscious decision-making. By adopting these strategies, businesses can navigate periods of austerity without compromising the core foundation of their business continuity management and organizational reliance strategies.

Scroll to Top