Big companies face disruption when their banks suffer computer system failures, business deals that have aborted, staffs not getting their salaries. IT failures does not only affect the bank, it also affects big businesses and individuals.
In the height of the summer, for example, the Sabre reservation system used by more than 300 airlines crashed for several hours, resulting in flight cancellations and delays, with some airline staff resorting to paper and pen to check in passengers manually.
Lets take a look at some of the reasons why these systems crash often.
- Balance Risk and Reward: Having to eliminate software bugs and other system weaknesses is quite expensive, so its comes down to if the company is ready to spend money or not. “How much money you are prepared to spend is based on the relative risk of what happens if you don’t,” said Simon Acott, director of IT services company exponential-e at a recent event hosted by lawyers Pinsent Masons. Also companies have to choose between going for cheap software products that have an high risk of damaging their entire system, or they go for reliable softwares that might cost them a lot and face less risk. This is one of the reason why IT failures will continue to exist.
- No Enough Tests: “I take a contentious view and say that IT outages are rarely to do with technology,” says Damian Saunders, a cloud networking director at Florida-based virtualisation and software company Citrix Systems. “There’s normally a role that technology plays in the outage, but when I look at the root cause, by far the greatest cause is people and processes. “This means that it could be a staff assigned to operate a particular not following the rules of testing the system before actual use. “If you do nine tests out of 10 and then say, ‘We have done nine, the 10th will be OK,’ then you could have problems,” says Andrew Marks, chief information officer at London-based oil and gas exploration company Tullow Oil. “Often the 10th test is the one that lets you down.” So let companies make sure they assign competent staff to newly brought software and make sure they follow the rules to reduce the failure rate of the system.
- Old Technology: Most banks still use their old systems instead of recent ones. The reason behind this is that they don’t know how authentic the new system will be. “Banks are old, and the technology that they use is old, and there are fewer and fewer people around who know how to keep it running,” he says. But few still take the risk of upgrading their systems, even though their are risk and cost attached to it.
- Rebalancing project: Companies and organisations should try to rebalance their project. A bank IT development manager believes the way to improve the reliability of bank systems is to develop and maintain more skills within the banks themselves so that systems can be modernised. But that would also entail bringing many outsourced systems back in house – a rebalancing project that he thinks is unlikely to happen in the current economic climate.
These are the reasons why IT failures have been recorded so far in most companies and organisations.