BIA Best Practices: 5 Tips for a Better Business Impact Analysis

  • February 6, 2019
  • Quantivate

What is a business impact analysis (BIA)?

A business impact analysis, or BIA, identifies areas that would suffer the greatest financial or operational loss in the event of a disaster or disruption.

A well-executed BIA offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Setting the foundation for an effective continuity program
  • Helping your organization gain competitive advantages
  • Providing insight into physical, operational, and systemic risk
  • Bridging the gap between IT and business decision-makers

However, many planners unknowingly create roadblocks to achieving a workable BC/DR plan. By following these tips, BC professionals can help their organization achieve a complete and usable business continuity plan.

Business Impact Analysis Steps 

  1. Identify critical business functions and processes.
  2. Identify critical dependencies that support those functions, such as staff, vendors, systems, and equipment.
  3. Rank the criticality levels of processes / systems and analyze impact over time.
  4. Identify customers downstream from critical functions and processes.
  5. Set the scope for building your organization’s business continuity plans.

5 BIA Best Practices

→  Want to learn all 10 BIA best practices? Download the complete guide.

1. Get executive buy-in.

Use the BIA process to gather input from company leadership. For example, you can ask your CFO to help define high, medium, and low financial impacts. The head of HR can help you decide consistent definitions for human resource impacts during a disaster. Getting executive buy-in during this process is a prime opportunity to build allies throughout your organization.

2. Involve IT from the beginning.

A BIA done right will drive spending in IT for years to come. If you don’t involve your IT team members and allow them to help you understand realistic recovery time and recovery point objectives, then you may end up with inaccurate impact and risk measurements.

3. Document interview results

Many professionals do make the BIA a conversation, which is more effective than sending out questionnaires and also a great way to build rapport. But the results of the conversation should always be documented during the interview; this will reduce the risk of collecting inaccurate information and help you stick to a consistent process.

4. Use objective impact criteria, not opinions from managers.

Managers typically view their departments and processes as mission critical. Simply asking managers’ opinions on the criticality of their department’s processes is counterproductive. Opinions alone don’t establish meaningful differentiation between critical and non-critical processes. It is important to set up objective criteria to use when assessing each department and its processes. This way, you get a fair and reliable comparison across your organization.

5. Use the BIA to build business continuity plans.

Many software applications and methodologies make the BIA an add-on resource or simply a questionnaire that is separate from the overall planning process. This approach will inevitably cause you to repetitively ask the same individuals the same questions when building plans. A properly performed BIA should be the structure for your BC/DR plans. This will save you time, effort, and manpower in developing and implementing your continuity initiatives.

Get 5 more smart business impact analysis tips
in our “BIA Best Practices” guide.


Or learn how Quantivate Business Continuity and Operational Resilience solutions can jumpstart your business impact analysis and business continuity planning.