It can be quite overwhelming if you’re faced with the task of choosing Business Continuity Management software. There are a large variety of business continuity software products available in the market for you to choose from and not all of them will suit your specific needs. Products are available to simplify, or complicate, nearly any level of business continuity strategy. So, to avoid feeling misled and disappointed, what do you look for?
Identify your requirements
It’s important to understand what you want the BCM software to achieve. Are you looking for a straightforward business continuity tool that will be used in a single location or a more complex database that can be utilised worldwide, anywhere, on any device? Some users main goal is to automate the administration of plans, whereas others want a mobile response tool or software that offers in-depth analysis and reporting. If you consider the size of your business continuity function, it enables you to understand if the provider offers scalable solutions to match your needs. Clearly understanding, listing and prioritising all your requirements will ensure you know the right questions to ask.
Look for an established product and provider
Finding out how long the business continuity management software has been on the market is critical to understand the type of experience you are likely to have when using the system. If they are well established in the market, the system is likely to be more stable and predictable, having been tried and tested by many users who have come before you.
Another factor that software buyers often forget to look into is the actual provider. Are they subject matter experts in business continuity or are they just a software vendor? For some, they may think this does not matter. However, when it comes to training, tips and tricks and advice, a software demo provided by industry professionals will be able to give you the answers you need.
Explore the product
If you are at the stage where you are ready for a product demo, then it’s safe to say you are already partially bought into the product. At this stage, you should revisit your initial requirements and make sure the functiontionality of the business continuity software matches your needs and have your questions ready. Some organisations will focus on their highlights and “best bits”, whereas other demos allow you to understand how it will function in normal operation. It will always be hard to find a product that does everything you need, in the way you want it done, so be realistic about your ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and be prepared to do a little compromising.
Does the business continuity software undergo continual improvement?
The business continuity software system may be well suited now, but it’s important to consider the future. Technology becomes outdated quickly and you want an innovative product that is going to continue to grow, innovate and improve as new technologies emerge. Before signing up for the business continuity software, be sure to determine if software releases are included in your licence fees or are going to cost additional each time a release is provided. It is also useful to understand if releases are mandatory and applied to all clients, or whether you have flexibility in how your instance of the system is managed.
What training and support options are available?
If you’ve decided on the business continuity management software for your organisation, it’s time to assess the training and support options that are available. If new users don’t feel comfortable operating the software, the adoption rate will be low and users may disengage from your business continuity program. Support is one of the key considerations for the ongoing success of your business continuity software purchase. You need to be comfortable with the service level time-frames on offer, and that the support staff can respond when you need them.
System Hosting and Security
Security is a crucial factor when considering a hosted solution to your business continuity software. Your IT department will more than likely throw you a very long list of requirements. The key questions you need to consider are:
- Where are servers located?
- Are these secure environments which meet international standards (e.g. ISO27001)?
- Is your data encrypted? Or maybe your organisation has regulatory requirements to keep data onshore?
- Will your information be backed up instantly, nightly etc. and how long are backups kept for?
- What is the system uptime?
- How quickly can the system be recovered if there is a failure?
To conclude, software is the future of business continuity management, and selecting the right tool for your organisation can start as a strenuous task. However, the process becomes simplified when you understand your functional and technical requirements, explore available software through product demonstrations, decide what level of support you will need and be comfortable that the vendor can provide this for you. You need to establish that you can work happily with the vendor and of course ensure you have the budget. BC-3 is a business continuity management software worth adding to your list of software to explore.