Another day, another systems outage. In the peak summer travel season this morning Delta Airlines faced a worldwide operations stoppage due to issues with computer systems. This hot on the heels of hundreds of flights being cancelled by Southwest, a troublesome introduction of BA’s new passenger check in and departure control system and baggage system outages at Heathrow and Gatwick, all of which have led to a waterfall of complaints using social media – probably the first time that customers have had recourse to such a public channel in such situations and immensely worrying from a public relations and customer retention perspective at a time where consumer confidence is flaky and yields are under pressure.
When renewing systems and service provider contracts the understandable pressure is on cost of provision but this serves to highlight the need to keep the end customer front and centre in the negotiations and to understand just how much money can be lost directly with foregone revenue and disruption/compensation costs and indirectly due to reputational damage from (say) a half day systemwide disruption so as to compare that with the apparent cost savings claimed. Very much a need for a balanced business case.