I was having a drink with an old friend of mine, who is a very prominent and globally sought after risk management professional, and we got around to talking about Disaster Recovery Planning Software. I asked him, “have you ever found one of those that you like?” His response was not positive.
Quite often, I am called by a potential Client needing help with DR planning, and who is at the make/break point of a relationship with a DR planning tool vendor. The conversation often goes something like this:
“Bob, we’ve had this vendor in here for the past 18 months, and they’ve been through the organization several times, helping us put words into this tool. We need a real DR plan that we can show our auditors and after all this time, the vendor is blaming us for not being able to follow their process!”
“Bob, we’ve spent a ton of money on this tool that a vendor sold to us, and we’ve spent the last year populating it with data. What we can’t figure out though, is where’s the darn DR Plan?”
I could go on, but I don’t want to come across as bashing the whole DR Planning Software niche. There might be some good ones out there. I just haven’t been impressed with what I’ve crossed paths with so far. No, I can’t name them. They’ve been that underwhelming.
Disaster Recovery planning is a complex craft. It requires a strong background in security and risk management, an ability to comprehend the business and its value in all dimensions, an appreciation for business and technology governance, pragmatic “what if” thinking, and the ability to communicate effectively. Looking at those ingredients for success, it’s difficult to comprehend how a bit of automation will accomplish that broader context of Disaster Recovery.
I would bet that the DR planning tool vendors are indeed advising their Customers that a few human brains need to be overlaid onto what their product brings to the table, but after the purchase I don’t think the consumers are seeing it this way. It seems that at least some of the people buying DR planning tools are not DR planners. As such, they are expecting more from the product than they should. … and they’re coming away dissatisfied.
I’d love to hear your experience with these tools, and if you have a success story it would be most welcomed.