The Fundamentals of Business Impact Management

Posted on: May 29, 2019
Author: Kim Hirsch

Let’s start from the beginning: what is business impact management and what does it entail?

  • A process is a fundamental business function that provides a product or service as a benefit to the organization.
  • When the ability of a process is disabled, compromised, or lost, the organization experiences what is called a business impact.
  • Business impact management is the practice of understanding the risks your business processes face and mitigating, or formally accepting, the impact of those risks.


Conference room with people

Effective business impact management requires an avenue to understand your business processes and how to address potential impacts. It should allow you to go beyond simply understanding, by enabling you to determine gaps and ways to address them and improve your program over time. Your employees and colleagues have valuable information about how their processes work, and you need to extract that information in an objective, understandable manner. Begin with the end in sight – determine the information most crucial to keep your business up and running. Then, start with these five tips to better understand business impact management.

Determine What’s Best for You

Everyone wants a “best-in-class” program. You can get there, but first, take the time to look at what’s best for your organization, and then compare that to your desired end goal. Through knowing what information is important to your organization, you can leverage reporting to focus on key metrics and enable your data to drive answers.

Ask the Right Questions

Ensure your question format makes sense. Ask the right questions, in the right way, and determine what information is necessary rather than just “good-to-know.”

  • Keep questions concise and to the point
  • Use terminology familiar to the subject matter expert
  • Identify similar questions, and try to consolidate into similar fields to avoid user fatigue

Consider Dependencies

The practice of business impact management involves leveraging available tools to help address your organization’s potential impacts. It’s important to also consider processes’ dependencies and how they could affect recovery objectives. Ensuring your processes’ requirements are up and working when the dependent process needs them is crucial to avoiding additional disruptions. Business impact management also involves taking the information surrounding your process and its dependencies and using it to mitigate the potential Impacts.

Work Incrementally

Business impact management alleviates work through time by refreshing and improving data rather than starting from scratch. Mature your program incrementally – at a pace that works and as more data is needed. Consider how you will use your data and use the appropriate configuration. Manage your program year-round by utilizing reporting, gap analysis and metrics.

Review Feedback

Review feedback from subject matter experts to determine areas that need improvement:

  • What worked?
  • What was difficult to understand?
  • Is there anything missing?
  • What was overwhelming?

Sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, I am going to be honest: the first year can be painful, but it pays off tremendously in the subsequent years, which are mostly about updates. Business impact management helps you understand your business, learn more to leverage your data, and determine process priority. By doing so, it identifies gaps, allows you to mitigate potential impact, and structure your program to be iterative. Overall, managing data with this approach greatly reduces your organization’s exposure to risk.

Want to know more about business impact management? Fusion can help you! Learn more about our advisory team committee, Fuel.

You may be thinking, “What about a business impact analysis?” BIA’s are the traditional approach that is focused on a point in time. They can evaluate a process in terms of its impact, criticality, and mitigation factors. Business impact management is more holistic and evolving. BIAs are great when used in alignment with business impact management but will not give you a comprehensive approach for mitigating risk alone.

To better understand how to leverage BIAs, check out our blog post Identifying the Optimal Process and Department Level to Perform a Business Impact Analysis.