Business Continuity – A Competitive Advantage

When business owners look at disaster recovery / business continuity planning, they tend to focus on the financial and resource expense of just another “insurance policy” that they will probably never use.  Overlooked is the value a good plan can bring to a competitive bid.  Consider the prospects’ position.  They had dozens of companies respond to an RFP for a product their company depends upon.  They narrowed the list down to two finalists.  Both offer the same product, at the same price, with the same quality of service.  The only difference is one has a continuity plan, and the other does not.  The company with the continuity plan wins the contract because:
– The prospect feels more secure in dealing with them
– The company with the plan shows a much higher level of professionalism
– The prospect knows the company is in it for the long haul

To test this theory, I recently ran a survey on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/answers/administration/purchasing/ADM_PUR/594511-23729851?browseIdx=0&sik=1260541338937&goback=%2Eamq) and asked the following question:
“When entering into a long term contract, do you require your vendor to have a business continuity / disaster recovery plan?”  From all the various groups and Q&A sections I posted to, I received about 20 responses.

I’ll let the purchasing agents speak for themselves:
“Long term or short term – doesn’t matter – it is a requirement to get to the final table. I coach my clients to ask the prospective service providers to present their disaster mitigation & recover plans as part of the bidding process. That not only includes the “data systems” – which is what most companies think is the issue – but also to understand what other facilities the provider can bring to the table in the case of disaster like fire, flood or storm. ”  David Schneider, (DKS&CO)

“The RFPs I’ve answered all seem to request a Disaster Recovery Plan. It seems pretty standard after 9/11 and Katrina to have one for your business.”  Leah Graves

“Disater Recovery is a part of every and any Self respecting RFP.”   VVSSB Shankar

“When procuring healthcare services, a disaster recovery plan is of key importance. Some healthcare services are non life-critical, but there are some services where an interruption in provision could result in loss of life. Dependent on the nature of the project, I would expect my providers to have an awareness of the risks and potential points of failure in their operation, and to have plans in place for disaster avoidance and recovery.
A cheap service without a disaster plan is of no interest to me!”   Gavin Hodgson

From the Managed Care Contracting Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=142596&sik=1260542957515&discussionID=10351883&readyToAnswer=readyToAnswer&trk=ug_qa_usrcomm&goback=%2Eana_142596_1260542957515_3_1

“Yes, we would choose the supplier with a risk mitigation plan established. We can’t stop a diasaster from happening but we also can’t wait for a 6 month repair situation to occur. We prefer to establish long term relationships.”

“Yes, in the event that the service interuption will cause an impact on care or service to downstream customers such as healthcare subscribers or members.”

To be fair, there are some situations where a plan is not a factor: http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=1426&sik=1260542957517&discussionID=10351857&readyToAnswer=readyToAnswer&trk=ug_qa_usrcomm&goback=%2Eana_1426_1260542957517_3_1
“To be honest sir, in all the RFP’s I have worked on for government clients, the issue of BCP hardly ever comes up.”

So even through a Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery plan may not be critical to every bid you enter into, it may be a requisite component for reaching the final table.  Depending upon the value of the contracts you can win, a comprehensive business continuity / disaster recovery plan can actually pay for itself and add real dollars to your bottom line.

For more information on business continuity / disaster recovery planning, visit http://TechValleyContinuity.com

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