Convincing your CFO to invest in a business continuity strategy can be a difficult task. Already buckling under the pressures of a global recession and trying to keep the company’s head above water, a CFO often sees investing in business continuity as an unwelcome expense. It's not an impossible task though, if done using the correct approach. Here are a few pointers that will help you in achieving that:
Speak the language of the CFO.
Rushing in and bombarding your CFO with a flurry of business continuity terms, graphs and concepts is not going to get their attention. What then should you talk about? Talk about something so dear to a CFO's heart that you will compel him to listen. Talk about money. After all, the CFO's main concern is money. Some of the topics that will interest a CFO follow.
A business continuity strategy can help cut costs.
Much like anyone else, CFOs would love to hear how money can be saved and costs reduced. Explain how a proper business continuity strategy can reduce costs. Consider some of the many areas where costs can be reduced and profits increased. These are all products of a proper and well-managed business continuity strategy:
- Improved processes lead to greater productivity and turnover.
- Improved safety and fewer injuries on duty lead to less downtime or productivity loss.
- Reducing wastage of time and resources leads to improved productivity and reduced operating costs.
- Improved uptime leads to better productivity and service delivery.
Being business continuity compliant comes with benefits.
Companies are more likely to deal with a company with a solid business continuity strategy than one without. In many countries, business continuity compliance is the law and no CFO wants to fall foul of the law and spend money on legal costs, fines and the aftermath of bad publicity.
Business continuity does not have to be expensive.
A properly constructed budget will show the CFO how the money will be spent. Show the CFO that there are affordable cloud software packages out there that are built on intelligent business continuity strategies, and that the correct business continuity strategy will make use of procedures that will cost nothing or very little.
A business continuity strategy helps safeguard your professional reputation.
It’s a no-brainer that a company needs to protect its reputation. Loss of reputation can lead to loss of customers or clients, which in turn leads to loss in revenue. A good business continuity strategy promotes continuity of service delivery and business operations. A common reason for changing one’s service provider is bad reputation as a result of bad service delivery.
A business continuity strategy helps reduce insurance premiums.
Insurance companies reduce the premiums of a company that has a proper and audited business continuity system in place. Identifying and lowering or eliminating risks is part of a comprehensive business continuity strategy.
Highlight cost effectiveness.
A correct business continuity strategy uses impact and risk analysis to determine what can go wrong and to what effect. Show the CFO that the most at risk areas are taken care of with cost-effective measures. It makes no sense spending millions on security for the coffee machine when one's power supply has no backup plan.
Doing your homework makes the approval process much easier.
Conversations of a fiscal nature will always be held with a level of contention between CFOs and CIOs, but once a shared objective is identified, things usually go a lot smoother. IT has become such an integral part of the modern day business that continuous investment in stable, secure and predictable infrastructure is of paramount importance. CFOs understand this, but this doesn’t mean that every motivation put forward will be met with his or her approval.
CIOs need to drive technological adoption throughout the organisation.
Make sure that you’ve performed all the required legwork to clarify the need for a business continuity plan. Remove the jargon from the conversation and make plain the benefits to the business. As CIO, it is your duty to bridge the gap between technology and the business. This undertaking might sometimes require more hand-holding than what you care for, but is in fact an intrinsic part of your role as chief technologist. Once you have gained the trust of your CFO, however, motivating major IT and infrastructure undertakings such a business continuity plan shouldn’t be a near impossible task.
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