You know you need business continuity software.
But translating that need into actually getting it done can feel about as overwhelming as starting your tax prep on April 14th.
There are a lot of business continuity software solutions on the market.
But which ones are the best?
What factors should you consider in choosing one that’s right for you?
And how do you convince your C-Suite to make the spend?
Here, we dial in on all the answers you need to make your case and find the perfect business continuity software for your organization.
What’s the best business continuity software?
There are a lot of good business continuity software solutions. Here we discuss our favorites and the pros and cons of other popular ones.
1. Fusion Risk Management
In both our capacity as business continuity program leaders in the past and now as business continuity and crisis management consultants, our team has worked with many different software solutions.
Our hands-down favorite and the one we usually recommend to clients is Fusion Risk Management.
It’s also ranked an industry leader by Gartner and other top industry reports. Here are some of the reasons why:
- It is highly configurable and has an out-of-the-box methodology that aligns well with what most organizations are trying to achieve with their programs.
- It also runs on top of the Force.com (Salesforce) platform, which has the dual benefit of providing a very distributed and stable cloud-based infrastructure, along with ease in administration and configuration for organizations who are already familiar with the Salesforce platform.
- Because it’s cloud-based, there is usually no need for ongoing internal IT support beyond some initial configuration activities with Fusion. Ongoing support and maintenance is usually managed by Fusion through a support agreement.
While we haven’t directly purchased this solution from Castellan, we have worked with it, seen it demonstrated, and talked to our colleagues in the industry who have purchased it and have been pleased with its performance and capabilities.
Castellan is also unique in that they provide full suite consulting in addition to their software service. Of course, this also makes them one of our primary competitors. But we wouldn’t be doing our job to our standards if we kept a great software solution secret from you. And we’re pretty confident that our very satisfied clients continue to look to us for their business continuity and crisis management consulting needs.
3. Infinite Blue
Infinite Blue is a software service provider that offers the BC in a Cloud, Cenari, and Sendigo solutions that cover operational resilience (business continuity, disaster recovery, and more), predictive end-to-end incident planning, threat tracking, and enterprise response, and planning/notification for mass communication to keep folks in the know.
We’ve not directly used their solutions, but we’re very familiar with their BC in a Cloud solution used by some of our clients who have been thrilled with the direction of the product in recent years.
4. Archer and ServiceNow
Both of these platforms are long-term players in this space that are still widely used but frankly not very innovative or high performing from a business continuity standpoint.
Still, a lot of companies end up using Archer because they’re already using it for other things, like Governance, Risk, and Compliance, or Enterprise Risk. The same can be said for ServiceNow, one of the leaders in IT service management tools.
It’s easy to understand why organizational inertia causes some businesses to choose a less capable or more difficult to administer business continuity management software for the sake of uniformity. But tools like Fusion have robust APIs and connectors to provide seamless synchronization between different platforms. This mostly obviates the “uniformity” argument.
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Our Ultimate Guide to Business Continuity contains everything you need to know about business continuity.
You’ll learn what it is, why it’s important to your organization, how to develop a business continuity program, how to establish roles & responsibilities for your program, how to get buy-in from your executives, how to execute your Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Business Continuity Plans, and how to integrate with your Crisis Management strategy.
We’ll also provide some perspectives on how to get help with your program and where to go to learn more about Business Continuity.
How to choose the best business continuity management software for your business
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant does a really good job of identifying the top software solutions in the field.
But there are two problems with relying solely on Gartner.
- Staleness: Gartner does not update their reports annually, so information can quickly become stale–their most current one on business continuity management program software solutions is nearly three years old.
- Specificity: Gartner can tell you what solutions are best in the industry, but not necessarily which solutions are best for your particular company and its specific needs.
Interestingly enough, the business continuity management software solutions that we most often recommend to our clients (like Fusion) are also the ones that happen to rank well with Gartner. It’s a good place to start.
Then, here are some other factors to consider:
Does it meet your most important needs?
It might seem simple enough, but I still see a lot of companies make the mistake of selecting a software solution that doesn’t meet their most basic business continuity management software needs. The problem usually becomes obvious at some point, at which point a better solution is implemented—at twice the cost.
Sometimes the problem is simply not understanding what capabilities you really need. Other times, it boils down to politics; Another organization with the company pressures Business Continuity into using the same software provider even though their business continuity platform is sub-par or the not-right solution. The first problem is easy to fix; do more research and understand what you need to have, what’s nice to have, and what’s irrelevant. The second might require some maneuvering by your executive sponsor; it’s well worth it.
Does their business continuity program methodology align with yours?
Some software providers have a particular line of thought or methodology on how they go about business continuity planning. And this is greatly reflected in the software solutions that they provide.
If so, you’ll want to be clear about your own use case and methodology and make sure the two are compatible.
Can the vendor demonstrate all of its advertised capabilities?
In our opinion, if a vendor can’t demonstrate an advertised capability, it probably doesn’t exist (yet). In other words, it’s vaporware.
Any potential vendor should be able to demonstrate to you all of the key capabilities that you need. For example, where is the BIA captured in their software or can they change or customize specific fields that you need to be customized?
If they can’t, it likely means that they haven’t yet built and/or tested the capability and are counting on you to inform that leap. It’s one thing to be the guinea pig for your neighbor’s new BBQ recipe, but quite another when preparing for your next corporate disaster.
Making the business case for business continuity software
Perhaps you’ve identified the right business continuity management software solution but you’re not exactly sure how to get the budget to purchase it. In making the case to your executives for business continuity management software, their primary questions will likely boil down to three things:
- “Why do we need this,”
- “How much will it cost,” and
- “How long will it take?”
Let’s take each in turn.
1. “Why do we need this?”
When a disruption or crisis hits, executives want quick answers.
What are the downstream impacts?
How long will affected systems be down?
Can we meet our recovery time objectives? What are the consequences if we don’t?
It’s hard, if not impossible, to answer these questions quickly when your business continuity management database requires you to manually rifle through hundreds of Word docs and Excel spreadsheets.
You also need to know where your business continuity program really stands before the crisis actually hits, including your progress towards meeting recovery time objectives. In a large, complex organization where there are a lot of continuity plans, it’s nearly impossible to fully understand dependencies and gaps in your recovery plan objectives without robust analytical tools that can provide structured data and reporting capabilities.
Good business continuity management software helps on both fronts by:
- Making your business continuity plans more accessible to everyone who needs them
- Facilitating training on those plans
- Providing or integrating with crisis management tools, such as an emergency notification system, to facilitate incident management
- Synthesizing reporting on programmatic progress so you can identify and address gaps
- Providing real-time reporting and analytics when a disruption occurs so you can navigate an effective response and recovery operation
2. “How much is this going to cost?”
By the time you drive off the car lot, you’ll probably end up spending a lot more than the sticker price that lured you there in the first place. Similarly, the true costs of software ownership can come with a lot of unexpected but necessary features that quickly add up.
For example, do you need your system to provide certain data integrations, like to your emergency notification system or your IT service management solution? If your software solution doesn’t have an API or connector to provide that capability, that could turn into thousands of dollars in work required to code your own custom solutions.
Or, does your chosen software solution meet all of your requirements, like including a crisis management module to help manage a crisis incident? If not, you may need to buy additional software to augment the capabilities that it doesn’t include.
When comparing different business continuity management software providers, it’s important to make sure that you’re comparing price along the same set of features. We refer to this as the “Total Cost of Ownership”, or TCO.
It includes things like:
- Licensing costs
- Hosting expenses
- Total time for configuration and implementation
- Maintenance costs
Comparing vendors on the total cost of ownership is the only way to accurately gauge which one is the best value for the solutions that your business requires. And value is ultimately what matters to your decision-makers.
3. “How long is this going to take?”
Our experience has been that implementation can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the chosen solution. Things that can impact this timeframe include:
- Whether you are using an out-of-the-box solution or need one that is more customized
- The internal resources that you can devote to software implementation
- Whether you already have the underlying data, such as your business impact analysis and business continuity plans, to inform your business continuity software solution
An experienced vendor or consultant should be able to give you an anticipated timeline for your particular implementation needs and keep you regularly informed on its progress.
Need help choosing a business continuity management software solution for your business? Or making the case for your spend? Bryghtpath can help.
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