Out of Order: Why businesses need a continuity plan

If you live in the U.S. or have visited the U.S. recently, you may have been affected by two big airline outages that have been mucking up travel in the States.

Southwest Airlines suffered a technology outage in late July resulting in a severe disruption to its service. The company lost essential systems for more than 24 hours, cancelling hundreds of flights and causing innumerable delays.

Then just a few weeks later, Delta Airlines had a computer outage that is still snarling travel as I write. When the outage first hit, the airline grounded more than 1,000 flights and delayed another 3,000. The fallout went on for at least three days.

While I don’t know the specific monetary losses Southwest or Delta Airlines face, we can gather it will be quite large. A 20-minute outage for Amazon earlier this year was estimated to have cost the retailer about $3.75 million. A conservative (and somewhat dated) estimate from Gartner puts the average hourly cost of downtime in business at about $330,000.

At CSC, we talk about business continuity as essential to digital success. We encourage and help clients put a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place to:

  • Become aware of the types of events that could become a crisis;
  • Ensure compliance with crisis management escalation and notification process across all types of crisis events;
  • Identify and document the critical resources needed to perform critical business functions;
  • Organise the recovery teams responsible for carrying out the recovery plans in the event of a business interruption;
  • Establish and document procedures for maintaining, training and testing the plans.

This process should be paired with smart technology choices – a hosting environment designed with multiple points of failure, a fully redundant network architecture for data backup, measures to ensure against physical hardware failure and more.

Of course, not all service disruptions can be avoided, but a good BCP can streamline and shorten response times, thus minimising the disruption. The main goals of any plan should be to:

  1. Coordinate the recovery of business processes and IT systems
  2. Ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of platforms, especially the transaction and payment services infrastructure

I preach this message in the fuel card industry, my area of expertise, but really it applies to all businesses in all industries today.

An out-of-order sign is more than an inconvenience. It’s a sign of lost revenues and forfeited opportunities, angry customers, faltering reputations and, sometimes, canceled flights and missed connections.

That’s something nobody wants in today’s business world.

In this series of posts, I’m discussing transformations in the fuel card industry, drawing from my years of experience working with the industry and watching it change and shift. I’ll discuss the fundamental drivers and hopefully put to rest any fears that challenges are insurmountable. Far from it, they’re driving innovations that will open companies to a bright future. Join me in the discussion here or connect with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to engaging with you. 


Brownlie bioNeil Brownlie has been at CSC since 2005 when he joined the company to head up sales for Cards and Payments in Asia, Middle East and Africa. He worked to introduce mobile payment solutions across the region, then in 2012, moved to Austria to lead the Fuel Card group and International sales. In 2014, he was appointed General Manager for Bulgaria. Outside of the office, he enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle, attending concerts and indulging in the good life – and wine – of Austria.

 

 

RELATED LINKS

3 potential disruptors to the fuel card industry

Balancing convenience with security in fuel cards

How consumer demands are changing payment approaches

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