|IT governance failure across airline industry added to the passengers' misery|
While the operational difficulties from snow falling around London in December 2010 might not have been a surprise to many, the failure of information technology to be of assistance to passengers iwas. Thousands of passengers were desperate for information, yet the information systems in place for passengers were very basic (e.g. call centres), or non-existent. CIO's in the British airline industry should be hanging their heads in shame, as should their counterparts at many of the international airlines who failed to provide information to passengers who desperately needed to revise their travel plans. Forget about ITIL compliance, Six Sigma blackbelts, CobiT implementations and regular internal control reviews, the situation at Heathrow was an international embarrassment for many reasons, but in particular for the CIOs responsible for providing information at the companies linked to the Heathrow IT governance disaster.
There is little evidence of disaster recovery plans swinging into action. Not a single CIO appears to have rushed to Heathrow to supervise the disaster recovery. Oh, of course, it wasn't the infrastructure that went down, just the flow of information! We are still ITIL compliant (although not ISO 20000 compliant)! But where are the temporary nternet kiosks and telephone facilities. Passengers were told to contact the airlines but the airlines cannot answer the calls. For very long periods passengers were kept hanging on hoping to have their call answered - and then, when answered, there were no clear answers about the alternatives available. "Call us back later, we can't assist you now. Its not only you, there are thousands of people who need help. We are doing the best we can. Call us back later".
Many CIOs do not know that IT governance is about accountability for achieving strategic outcomes. They are personally accountable for managing the delivery of value to stakeholders, all stakeholders. Unfortunately for passengers at Heathrow, BAA believes that the airlines are their customers. Consequently BAA is very operationally focused and has completely ignored the passengers of the airlines. Hence the 2010 IT governance disaster!
Passengers in the airline industry are the most important stakeholders. Information has tremendous value to them, particular in a time of crisis. The Heathrow 2010 Christmas disaster highlights how out of step companies in the airline industry are when implementing IT governance. The bigger question is whether this situation is limited to just the airline industry!
Similar failures have also occurred across the rest of the transport industry in Britain, and are possible at many other companies around the world.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 17:03|