Thursday, 16 June 2011

Five Factors and IT Downtime

Yesterday afternoon's plenary session had Tim Marshall, CEO of JANET talking about his five factors for achieving the impossible! Briefly they are: Know your Business
Know your Numbers
Strive to be Trusted
Empower the Team
Look over the Horizon

And you can read more about them here.

Entertaining talk as always, and it led very nicely into the next one, which was me talking about challenges facing IT Directors. I covered the consumerisation of IT, mobility, user expectations, data, infrastructure and carbon footprint, amongst others. All of the talks will eventually be on line as podcasts, so I'll link to them when available. I'd particularly recommend you watch Tim's.

One of the pieces of work that UCISA has recently completed looked at the cost of IT Downtime, and Peter Tinson presented on it this morning. It was carried out for two reasons. First, there was a lot of money being spent in Universities on making business systems resilient, but without really understanding the costs and benefits. Also, some Universities were taking out insurance against disaster at certain times of year, for example the middle of August. But, the cost of damages they were insuring against was unknown. The aim of the project was to produce formulae to calculate the business cost of IT downtime for given scenarios. The project surveyed institutions, and found that 75% had experienced some failure, ( and the other 25% were probably lying), and 40% had Lost a service for more than a day. The main reason was power failure, by a long way. The second was systems or programming error, human error. Risks that were identified included power, shortage of skilled staff, inadequate infrastructure, and security or DoS attacks.

The project held focus groups with staff from all areas of the Universities in the study, and looked at different scenarios and impacts, including loss of income, increased costs, liabilities etc. There's also intangible costs such as reputational damage.

Peter has some experience of dealing with this, as he was IT Director at City University when they had a fire which destroyed part of a building. The headline in the newspaper that night was City University destroyed by Fire. As Peter read that headline whilst he was sitting in his office, it was patently not true.

The project came up with a number of different scenarios and methods of calculating impact. The finished report can be found here.


EDIT  The podcasts of most of the talks at EUNIS are now up - they can be found here. Mine is called challenges are what make life interesting and Tim's is the difficult we do now, the impossible takes a little longer.


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3 comments:

Derek Traynor said...

Hi Chris,

Any idea if these podcasts were ever uploaded?

Chris Sexton said...

have just checked, and some of them are on TCD's iTunesU site, but not many. Will find out.

Chris Sexton said...

Podcasts are now up http://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/eunis-dublin-2011/id443128863