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Beating IT Risks by Luke Silcock, Ernest Jordan

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Chapter 8. Applications

When downtime means down time

The fourth major air traffic control breakdown in three years left more than 200 000 travellers fuming, with delays and cancellations snowballing from Southampton to Glasgow. For an hour at the height of the morning peak, a computer failure left planes barred from taking off at all major airports ...

For airlines, the breakdown left planes, pilots and cabin crew in all the wrong places, with costs running into tens of millions of pounds ...

According to National Air Traffic Services (NATS), problems began when engineers turned up at Heathrow's West Drayton control centre before 3 am to test software which is intended to be introduced later in the summer. The 45-minute test appeared to go as planned. But when the system was switched back on to full operation at 6:03 am, ready for the arrival of the morning's transatlantic traffic, controllers at NATS' nerve centre in Swanwick, near Southampton, noticed 'errors' in flight data ...

The spokesman admitted the system was 30 years old. (Guardian, 2004)

Lessons to be learned

In December 1999, RMIT commenced the Academic Management System (AMS) information technology implementation project. The aim of the AMS project was to integrate all RMIT's student management activities into a consolidated system to streamline processes including student enrolments ...

The implementation of the AMS was largely outsourced and went 'live' in October 2001. Since going 'live', the AMS has suffered a number ...

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