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Tenets of ITIL: Prevention vs. Reaction and the 99% Uptime

12/14/2011 by: The SunView Team

Often in the winter months, sometime between dreaming of permanent beach vacations and the lack of cold weather the southwestern edge of the US seems to enjoy, I like to wonder about a world where all IT organizations followed at least the core set of of best practices such as those found in ITIL. Now while that may sound strange, it's much more about the existence of a consumer in a world dominated by IT that seems to be entrenched in the principle of reacting to issues versus preventing them.

Along that same line of thought, this blog would have enough dedicated content all year long simply by covering the stories where customers are blocked from goods or services because of IT issues. Case in point, the latest comes from Australia, where according to a post from IT Wire, most services at Common Wealth Bank were down for almost four hours.

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Of course, four hours sounds pretty small in the grand scheme of things. From the perspective of IT, they tallied up about a month's worth of acceptable down time (we apply the 99% accepted uptime rule applied to 24 hours businesses). In contrast, let's think about this from the customer's perspective; just two weeks away from one of the biggest holidays of the year, customers trying to pay for everything from meals to gifts were denied. The scope of lost business during a relatively short period can be tremendous, especially for businesses that may run predominantly on sales made during this time of year.

Now, we can't beat up on this bank too much. That's mainly because we'll likely never know the cause or the resolution. That's not really the issue at hand though. The lesson is that a steady focus on preventing issues is essential to improving experiences. Even working within a goal of 99% uptime, a large portion of customers can be impacted in an extremely negative way.

So use this story as material to empower your team, to help humanize what they do. Issues will occur, but learn from them, and make sure they aren't repeated. Most importantly work hard to build a tenet in your IT organization - prevention of issues is above reacting to them.

Image: Flickr | Wonderlane