As a competent, business continuity manager, does it make sense for you to consider bringing in external resources in business continuity consulting? The short answer is “maybe”. There are circumstances where external consultants can add significant value, without undermining your good standing as an employee. In fact, correctly selected and used, such consultants can even make you look even better! As with other decisions about using service providers, it comes down to knowing what your organization needs and checking that the provider in question can supply to meet those needs.

There are two major factors that might persuade or dissuade you to use business continuity consultants. As a favourable factor, external experts should be able to bring objectivity. Unhindered by internal politics and unaffected by the blind spots that can afflict internal staff, they should be able to tell you with impartiality and neutrality what your enterprise needs in terms of business continuity plans and actions. On the other hand, that objectivity may come at a price, in that external consultants may not know your industry as well as you do. This factor may make you think twice, or at least drive you to seek out BC consultants who can show you they have relevant experience to offer.

To get the most out of engaging business continuity consultants, try the following checklist:

  • Define clearly and precisely what you want the consultants to do. Do you want an audit? A solution to a problem? Do you expect the consultants to be able to prioritise possibilities according to your business and its requirements, as well as its budget? All these possibilities are legitimate, but make them clear from the start.
  • Make a shortlist of suitable consultants based on services offered and relevant track record
  • Interview them to assess their competences and how well they will fit in with your enterprise
  • Ask for and check references. You may also want to ask for qualifications, such as certification by DRI International (always a good sign!).

A good consultant will be able to bring and demonstrate real and significant added value, which may include making business continuity work for your enterprise as an income and profit generator, not just as a necessary cost.