Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas round the corner means one thing- Business Continuity Planning

So, the decorations are going up in the streets, the nights are drawing in and Starbucks have switched to red cups. It can all only mean one thing. Christmas is upon us. However, for those in IT, the other herald of the season is calling for us to brush off our business continuity plans and work out how we keep the wheels turning with skeletal staff.
In the hospitality and leisure industry, the problem is particularly acute as when customers and staff are wanting to party, we need to keep the party going. So, I'm pleased to report that we have closed off our plans. A couple of months of consulting with colleagues, partners and suppliers have come to a close and our arrangements are in place. Scenarios have been identified; systems and processes mapped; contingency plans are written; the control centre has been resourced (with a fancy dress theme- it's not all work work work); and deals have been done with key suppliers.
It's hard to get fired up about Christmas in late summer and it's amazing how many IT companies need to be convinced there's a discussion to be had, but it just goes with the territory and we're all glad now it's done. Now we can look forward to the sound of sleigh bells etc with everyone else. Ok... and maybe a few tweaks to the plan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snatched from the jaws of victory

Last week I found myself needing a taxi in the West End of London and I walked for about 15 minutes (or a dozen blocks in US money) before I was finally able to hail one down. Frustratingly, I could see available taxis in the distance, but only long enough to tease me with their yellow lights before they melted round a corner. I had an "Ah ha!" moment, realising the market for an app which could broadcast my geotagged need for a taxi pronto and drivers in the area could swoop to my location. My mind raced with the thrill of seizing upon the opportunity- from writing the business plan through to a glitzy launch.
So, you can imagine my annoyance this week when I found that someone had beaten me to it. Still, perhaps they've executed the idea badly? Perhaps there'll be flaws in their offering? Sadly not. I have to hand it to Hailo, they've done a great job. The "first time use" experience is slick, the app is intuitive, the marketing is simple but effective (it was the sight of a Hailo emblazoned taxi which drew my attention to the app) and it works. Available on the iPhone and Android, I highly recommend Hailo- even if they did beat me to it.