As BCP professionals, we constantly struggle with organizing and displaying vast amounts of data from the organization in our BCP tool. Data feeds for Employees, Locations, Applications, and Servers are readily available from all corners of the organization and easy to import into most tools. But we need to stop and ask ourselves: is all that information relevant for a good BC and/or DR program? What guidelines should we use to determine which data to include?
Don’t get me wrong, having so much information readily available is a GREAT problem, but at the same time it can easily overwhelm our users. We should resist the temptation to shower our users with data that is neither relevant nor helpful. For example, how many fields do you have in your HR feed? Is it 10, 15, 150? If you answered the latter, ask yourself if your employees require all of that information during an incident or crisis. They likely only require barebones to make contact with essential personnel as quickly and efficiently as possible to put their plans in place.
It’s our job as BCP Professionals to make the right choice and narrow the focus of this “information overload”. Including only the appropriate fields in our plans empowers our people to quickly achieve their goals. As an added bonus, the less information points you utilize, the easier it is to keep the information up to date.
I recently came across a great article by Tom Davenport of the Harvard Business Review: “Data is Worthless if You Don’t Communicate It.” While it doesn’t directly apply to BCP, but I’d suggest checking it out to help understand what it means to be “better consumers of data.”
To paraphrase Davenport: don’t let nitty gritty details get in the way of telling a good story with your data.