11 Mar 2015

Five ways to get management on board with your DR strategy

For the IT professional, getting management to accept the need for disaster recovery can be one of the most challenging internal sales pitches they’ll ever do.

It’s not the strongest position to go into a meeting with management and suggest they should invest money in something that – hopefully – won’t ever be used. To management, that’s often going to sound like wasted money.

And yet it’s critical that organisations have sound disaster recovery technology and processes in place, because the alternative could well be a business-ending event if there’s a disaster and no recovery plan in place.

There’s a couple of key things to keep in mind when pitching a disaster recovery solution to management that will help articulate the value that it will bring to the organisation, as well as the necessity to have it:

  • Focus on value for money rather than risk management. There are plenty of managers that are willing to expose the business to a level of risk, so it can be difficult to pitch DR on the grounds of risk management. Something they will universally pay attention to, however is cost management. IT downtime costs businesses hundreds of thousands each year (http://searchdisasterrecovery.techtarget.com/video/Selling-management-on-the-importance-of-disaster-recovery-planning), and pitching DR as a way to minimise downtime and save on costs is a better avenue to engagement at the executive level. Similarly, work with your company’s IT, legal and financial teams to work out a precise number in terms of the cost of downtime to your business. Giving precise numbers will help catch the attention of the manager. Especially given how significant those numbers are likely to be.
  • Pitch DR as a way to improve productivity. A secondary benefit of DR is that it can give employees access to core applications all the time, from anywhere. This in turn enables them to work more efficiently and with greater mobility – that is a much easier business proposition to pitch to management, as it provides an immediate return on investment.
  • Use case studies. Being able to point specific examples of how a DR solution has been able to assist a businesses’ competitiveness, profitability, and so on, will help greatly in convincing them of its value. Prior to the pitch do some research on the Internet to find examples of businesses in industries similar to yours that have made the most of a DR spend.
  • Have a specific solution in mind. If you’re able to convince the management in the value of a DR solution, then they’re going to want to immediately understand what you’re planning to implement, how much it will costs, how long it will take, and what suppliers will be used. Being able to outline the solution will help ground the DR strategy in place for management and help them see at a glance the final vision that they’re being asked to buy into.
  • Don’t overuse use the word “disaster”. “Disaster” is a word that carries with it certain connotations that may not help your case – specifically this solution will only be applicable to an event that has a low chance of occurring. It’s a dramatic word that many people are not interested in engaging in. If you instead use the term “IT Recovery,” you will likely get a better response, as now the solution sounds like it’s there to deal with the mundane nature of day-to-day business. It’s a bit of psychological word play, but it does work.