Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Plan 'B' is actually Plan 'F'

It never ceases to amaze me at exactly how blindingly ignorant management are when it comes to a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, who I’ll call Sam, who told me this story. It’s so good that I’ve transcribed the conversation as it was described to me. I pity the poor shareholders in this ASX listed company.

CEO: So we need a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Sam: Great. That’s a good idea.

CEO: How are you going to do it?

Sam: (confused) Why do I have to do it?

CEO: Well if this place burned down what would happen to our data?

Sam: It would be fine. The data is backed up to tape as well as hard drives. The hard drives are in a room that has a four hour fire rating and tapes are taken off site daily.

CEO: Excellent. So we’re fine.

Sam was really confused at this stage.

Sam: What about the rest of the business?

CEO: What do you mean the rest of the business? You’ve got backups what more do you need?

Taking a deep breath…

Sam: Well lets assume that the place burns down.

CEO: Okay.

Sam: So what happens the next morning?

CEO: You restore our data from the backups and we’re back up and working again.

Sam: Uh-Huh. How?

CEO: Well you know. You just restore the data. You know, all that technological stuff.

Sam: Okay, what do we restore to?

CEO: Computers.

Sam: What computers? The place burned down.

CEO: You know you can just go to a local store and pick up a few computers so we can get working again.

Sam: What about the phones?

CEO: We’ll redirect them.

Sam: To where?

CEO: Mobiles.

Sam: What about the staff? Where do they go?

CEO: They come to work.

Sam: Yeah, but that’s just burned down, so what do they do when they get here?

CEO: Uhhhh…we’ll give them mobiles.

Sam: And where are we going to get the mobiles from?

CEO: Our telco.

Sam: So 50 staff show up for work at the burnt out wreck of the building and I’m supposed to have 50 mobile phones ready to issue to them?

CEO: That’s right and with their computers they’ll be able to work.

Sam: That’d be the computers we just bought from Harvey Norman, right?

CEO: Yep.

Sam: And where do they use their computers?

CEO: Don’t you think you’re being a bit negative about this. You should be giving me solutions to all these things you’re bringing up! You’re not being a team player.

Sam: So lets just assume for a second that the staff show up and the computers are here, they all need to be setup, installed, configured and have the data restored to them. They phones need to have SIM cards and be activated and then we need to redirect each phone to the correct new mobile service.

CEO: See. That’s the spirit. Now you’re getting it.

Sam: But the building has burned down and there’s no power and nowhere to work and set up the computers and activating 50 new phones is going to take a while as well.

CEO: See. Now you’re not being a team player again. You’ve got to find a positive outcome.

Sam: Positive outcome!? The place is a pile of ashes, I’m surrounded by 50 computers and the software they need to run, 50 mobile phones that I need to activate, there’s no power and nowhere to work!

CEO: We have faith in your ability to deliver on all of this.

Sam: But what about our business system? It doesn’t run on a computer I can get from Harvey Norman.

CEO: We have continuity of business insurance, just buy what you need.

Sam: It may take a while to get it ready to go.

CEO: That’s okay. Just so long as we can collect money we can use it as an excuse to delay paying everyone we owe money to.

Sam: Oh. Okay. So long as you’ve got a plan.

CEO: Well I do, but I’m not so sure about you and your team. You should work on it some more and address the shortfalls I’ve identified but the rest of the business has a plan.

Sam walked out of the office shaking his head, certain that the business was on a course that mirrored the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

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