News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

CIOs not making time for business continuity planning

Company culture and lack of management support are preventing many firms from planning for downtime or disaster.

Many midsized to large companies have no business continuity plan. But it's not because they don't see the value in it.

They just can't seem to get around to doing it.

According to a survey sponsored by hardware and software vendor Hewlett-Packard Co., 55% of respondents said their companies couldn't agree on a technology solution for business continuity. Forty-nine percent said they simply didn't have time to plan. A lack of experienced internal resources was cited by 59% of respondents, and 34% said they lacked the data needed to make a business case for implementation.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP surveyed 564 IT decision makers at large and midsized companies.

Companies can overcome most of these obstacles by hiring technology vendors and outside expertise. "But a lack of management support and a lack of corporate priority, that's an inside sales job," said John Bennett, HP's worldwide director of business continuity and availability solutions.

Chuck Kramer, senior vice president and CTO at midsized company Social & Scientific Systems Inc., said the biggest obstacle he faces in implementing business continuity is buy-in. He said executive buy-in isn't a problem. But creating buy-in among the rest of the company's employees is a challenge.

"People are busy, and when this comes along, it's just one more thing to be done," Kramer said.

Bennett said, "It's unfortunately not a surprise. It's hard to carve out the time to address other critical issues, of which business continuity is just one. It's a challenge."

The survey also revealed that 80% of companies polled intended to make business continuity planning a higher priority in 2007.

"We've been in an era these last four or five years where the primary business focus has been on cutting costs and getting costs under control," Bennett said. "We seem to be coming out of that era. We're seeing interest in driving top-line revenue for businesses and an increased focus on investing in new business initiatives."

Despite time constraints, Kramer's company has a thorough IT disaster recovery plan in place. But he said it needs a "full-blown" business continuity plan that incorporates the human capital component of his business, especially since Social & Scientific Systems is located near Washington, D.C.

It's hard to carve out the time to address other critical issues, of which business continuity is just one.

John Bennett, worldwide director of business continuity and availability solutions, Hewlett-Packard Co.

With the prospect of Avian flu and the ever-looming danger of a terrorist attack, we have determined it to be a priority to have [a business continuity plan] in place in 2007," Kramer said.

"As has been often said, especially in light of Hurricane Katrina, businesses often don't devote enough attention to the human capital side of the problem, seeing that people are available to man the stations and making them comfortable that their families and friends are OK without them," he said.

Kramer's Silver Springs, Md.-based company provides technological and data analysis support for public and private research, particularly biomedical research. He said the nature of his business can also be a barrier to business continuity planning.

Kramer said Social & Scientific Systems devotes enough resources to business continuity planning, but there are conflicting priorities in the market, with the government's evolving security requirements and process changes.

"So while we devote the resources, they are, at times, temporarily redirected to other activities."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer

Dig Deeper on Enterprise disaster recovery and business continuity planning

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.