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IT's Doomsday

As a consultant I am regularly asked to review the IT provision in organisations, its capability, strategy, management etc. Very often the Finance Director is one of the prime movers for bringing me in to perform these reviews with the obvious hope that cost efficiencies may be identified and the IT leader challenged to become more financially responsible. 

I've never seen an IT organisation without scope for improvement, and that includes the IT teams I have run, but at the same time I have always found it necessary to caution the directors of any organisation I review that technology is fallible, people are fallible, and the search for cost efficiencies should never be taken to the extent of threatening service - a doomsday scenario is an unpalatable and melodramatic idea, but it is also a real possibility.


Today residents in the Glasgow area have woken up to a second day of the Glasgow and Clyde NHS system not working. Operations and appointments are being postponed, IT technicians have been working throughout the night, the healthcare system of South-West Scotland has been thrown into chaos. The reason is simple, part of their IT systems has failed.

Despite the seemingly melodramatic nature of the threat, IT managers live with the possibility, 24x7, that the systems under their care may fail, and if they do then everything stops. In our modern IT-enabled world IT failure very often means total failure and organisational leaders need to understand that while cost effectiveness in IT is cleary desirable, continuity of service and survivability is simply essential - there is no higher priority.

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