Commentators blame sourcing decisions for BA meltdown

outsourcing, aeroplane

Well, that was an interesting weekend if you have the misfortune to be a business traveller using British Airways. As has been in all the papers and online sources, the airline’s service ground to a halt on Saturday and passengers were left not knowing what was going on.

Inevitably, since the IT operation that went down had been outsourced to India, the unions were straight onto it. Last night on the BBC News, a union rep said he could guarantee 100 per cent that if the computer system had still been in-house and in the UK, it would have been fixed within minutes.

(This incidentally broke the first rule of media training: never, ever, speculate – there is literally no way of knowing how an in-house team would have performed since those circumstances remain untested).

Meanwhile BA CEO Alex Cruz has said the issue was due to a power surge on Saturday morning, and has accepted that communications being taken out by this surge was unacceptable.

Best practice

Our theory at Intelligent Sourcing magazine is that this had very little do do with the sourcing decisions and everything to do with the management and deployment of resources.

Take, for example, the fact that the communications system was fatally undermined at the same time as the core system managing the flights. These are both mission-critical applications; you can’t afford for them both to be out of commission, so you could ask why they were on the same site and therefore vulnerable to the same power surge.

Take also the issue of backup. Perhaps the union spokesperson was right, and a domestic, in-house team would have got the thing running faster – but how? By reverting to a backup system which appears not to have been available? It doesn’t matter whether Indian or British fingers are pressing the buttons, if there’s a problem there needs to be a backup.

We reckon there will be further questions about the BA issue in the very near future. We just think the sourcing issue is a bit of a red herring.

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