Chargeback has a certain allure. Instead of one department having to pay for all the products and services it supplies to other departments, you get users and business units to pay for what they use. Since the beginning of the millennium, there has been a trend towards chargeback for IT in particular. CIOs have been using cost-tracking software to see who has been consuming what. Business continuity now has a lot to do with IT. Does it make sense to start charging departments for the amount of business continuity resources they use?
When it comes to IT, the logic behind chargeback is that departments will start to become more attentive to costs and to returns on investment. There will always be a call for the IT department’s offerings, because business without IT is largely unthinkable today. On the other hand, the other departments will only order the products and services they really need, or so the theory goes. In addition, the CIO can look good when presenting to the CEO or even the board. IT starts to look like a true business partner instead of a bottomless cost centre.
However, what works for IT doesn’t always work for business continuity. For instance, a department with a real time mission critical role (say, production or shipping) will need more business continuity resources. But is it fair to make those departments pay more, simply because they have the challenging role of keeping the enterprise afloat every day? And whereas most departments would readily admit they need IT, they may not be quite as ready to recognise that they need business continuity resources too. After all, they can’t do business without IT, but they can do business without business continuity – until things fail, of course. So in summary, the days of chargeback for business continuity are yet to come, if indeed they ever arrive. Unless business continuity functions start to reclaim a percentage of the money they help departments save… Now, there’s a thought.