As businesses lean more heavily on internal IT processes to support critical operations, the effects of an outage or failure will grow in severity. Organizations across numerous sectors have experienced lengthy periods of downtime in recent years, resulting in costly service delays. When an IT failure occurs on a large scale, the fallout can be immense. This is especially true for members of the financial services industry, where customer-facing applications must feature optimal uptime in order to deliver a reliable product.
Given the sensitive nature of these accounts, IT failures can be devastating for a credit union or bank, as customers may take their business to a competitor following a prolonged service disruption. Furthermore, if the outage is highly publicized, potential clients will likely be deterred from doing business with the affected organization as well.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, for instance, has experienced multiple IT outages in recent years, with officials promising to improve their internal processes and prevent similar incidents from occurring. However, the latest IT failure has highlighted how pervasive these issues are for the organization as well as how damaging they can be. According to Reuters, more than 1 million customers were unable to access their accounts and withdraw funds for a period of approximately three hours. The timing could not have been worse for the bank or its clientele, as the outage occurred on “Cyber Monday,” when online outlets offer sales and discounts, driving major Internet sales. The fallout from this incident could include millions of dollars in lost revenue for the bank.
Having such a widespread outage coincide with a major shopping event has only served to further publicize the incident, drawing criticism from industry observers. Even the organization’s leadership conceded that fundamental problems existed within RBS’s IT framework.
“For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems,” RBS CEO Ross McEwan stated. “We need to put our customers’ needs at the center of all we do. It will take time, but we are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on. We know we have to do better.”
Preventing costly service disruptions
With the stakes of a potential IT failure running high, financial services organizations should do everything in their power to prevent these costly incidents from occurring. Perhaps the most effective way to eliminate IT outages is by implementing high-quality workload automation tools. SMA Solutions’ OpCon, for instance, offers process automation capabilities that can be expanded across the entire enterprise, including customer-facing applications. By improving the performance of IT workflows, businesses will be able to execute critical tasks more accurately and quickly, resulting in more effective and reliable operations. Financial service institutions can continue to provide customers with consistent access to their personal accounts and other critical assets without fear of an expensive outage occurring.
In addition to improving the accuracy and effectiveness of critical IT processes, OpCon also enhances the visibility of jobstreams. With manual operators, bottlenecks and other potentially damaging inefficiencies may go unnoticed. As Stephanie Hyles, Computer Operations Team Leader for the Digital Credit Union, discovered, SMA Solutions’ product identifies these issues before they can result in a service disruption.
“With OpCon, if something fails, we know 99.99 percent of the time before somebody else tells us something is wrong,” Hyles stated.