Software or Template? A BCP Roadblock

One issue that’s gaining steam, especially with SMEs, is business continuity planning. Many companies are starting to develop plans so that they can continue to operate through both problems large and small. If you’re one such company, and are stuck at the point where you need to choose between software and templates, we have some advice for you.

The decision between templates and software can be a tough one to make, as whichever one you choose, you’ll be using and relying on for a long time. To help you we’ve covered some pros and cons on both choices:

Using Software
If you choose to go with a software program, you will be walked through the whole process allowing you to develop a useable plan. Another benefit of using software is that you’ll be able to develop reports if needs be.

The drawbacks of using software include cost, inflexibility and learning time. For the most part, business continuity planning software is not cheap, and at times can be inflexible due to limits within the program. If you have a niche need, the software may not cover it. In addition, as with mastering any program, the learning curve can be quite steep.

In general, using software would be advantageous for companies that have a bigger budget for the development of a continuity plan. Software is also a good bet if you don’t have staff who are experts in continuity planning, or if you operate in an industry where a continuity plan is necessary, e.g., companies working with healthcare insurance, or manufacturing companies that have introduced ISO 9000.

Using Templates
If you feel that your company is not ready for software you can use templates to help you develop your plan. These solutions are mostly written plans that you adapt to meet your business needs. They’re useful if you’re just starting to do continuity planning, as they provide a normally solid foundation, and are generally a lot cheaper than software.

A limitation to using templates is that they can be a little too basic at times, and may not meet your needs. Granted, most plans will follow a basic structure and your developer will need to adapt some steps for your relevant region and industry.

As each industry is different, it’s hard to make a recommendation on what type of planning style companies should take. We recommend you take your time, do your due diligence and weigh out what’s best for your business. No matter which method you choose to go ahead with, ensure that it’s easy to implement, and that you’ll be able to teach your staff how to run the plan.

If you feel really lost or are not sure what to do, talking to professional consultants could go a long way in helping you develop a plan. If you’d like to learn more about business continuity planning please contact us – we are happy to help.

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