Good training and experience in business continuity can convert data, information and theory into something more valuable for an organisation – business continuity knowledge. The difference is that knowledge is practical, applicable and relevant to the organisation that has it. People who know what to do to keep a business ticking don’t have to scurry off to dig into textbooks. They know what to do because they have already built a model in their minds of how their organisation works and how to leverage business continuity resources appropriately. That’s a big advantage, but how permanent is it?
What grows and develops in people’s heads has a tendency to stay in those people’s heads. As long as they are part of the organisation, they can be called on to keep business continuity optimised. However, if they leave, their knowledge leaves with them. And at some point, they will leave, if only because they reach retirement. It would therefore be a good idea to be able to store their business continuity knowledge somewhere safe, where it would be available to continue benefiting the organisation.
Knowledge storage and retrieval is a challenge, no matter which area is involved. Tools are gradually evolving to make it easy or easier for experts to record what they know. Personal knowledge databases offer better compatibility with the ways humans think, above all capturing associations and relationships such as the way specific risk management processes should be applied to different functional departments. Other people can then follow in the experts’ footsteps (or mindsteps) and expert themselves can also better retrieve their own knowledge when they haven’t used it for a while. Progress in these knowledge storage tools is still continuing, but now could be the time to use them to start making a permanent record of the business continuity expertise that exists in your organisation.