BC/DR spending not a top budget priority

Forrester Research finds organizations understand the importance of spending on business continuity and disaster recovery, but put it off

Organizations continue to spend on business continuity and disaster recovery, but BC/DR is still not a budget top priority, according to newly-released data from Forrester Research.

Forrester researcher Stephanie Balaouras, along with Laura Koetzle and Nicholas M. Hayes, said a 2010 IT budget survey found 32 percent of enterprises had planned to increase spending on business continuity and disaster recovery by 5 percent. However, follow up in 2011 found BC/DR budgets hovered at previously levels, around 6 percent of spending, despite what researchers called "a string of devastating and high profile disasters in 2010 and early 2011."


"BC/DR is not all about natural disaster preparedness, but usually, high profile catastrophes like Japan's earthquake and tsunami stir business and IT executives to spend more to be prepared," the report states.

Researchers surveyed more than 2700 IT executives in Canada, France, Germany, the UK, and the US and said the likely culprit in stalled BC/DR spending is the continuing economic uncertainty.

"Even in the best of economic times, it's difficult to build the business case for an initiative like BC/DR that's primarily about cost avoidance rather than return on investment. In tough economic times, it's almost impossible," the report states. "With the threat of a double-dip recession on the rise in Europe and North America, now is a good time to understand what makes up the BC/DR budget and what you can do to keep BC/DR on the priority list."

That report points to figures from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), which found economic damages from natural disasters in 2010 accounted for US$123.9 billion; an increase of 160 percent compared with 2009 and above the annual average for the period between 2000 to 2009.

BC/DR took a backseat to priorities such as consolidation, business intelligence, and virtualization, the report claims. This is in contrast to 2010, when BC/DR was the top priority for small and medium-size businesses and the second-highest priority for enterprises.

It is not that enterprises feel that BC/DR is less important, said researchers. In fact, in 2010, 64 percent of IT decision-makers and influencers reported that BC/DR was a high or critical priority; in 2011, that number was 60 percent, only a minor decrease. The issue is that enterprises feel that consolidation, intelligence, and virtualization are even more important. Consolidation, business intelligence, and virtualization all help to reduce IT costs, improve business and IT responsiveness, and increase flexibility -- all of which are critical during tough economic times, according to researchers.

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