Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's Your 97 Year Old Technology?

This past week, the Long Island Railroad has had to cancel over 25% of their trains, causing hour long delays for their passengers. A rainstorm on Monday caused a 97 year old piece of technology to fail, the effect of which cascaded through the switching system of the Jamaica station.

Why am I blogging about this? Because it's a warning.

Was the LIRR surprised at what happened? I'll venture to say "No, they were not". At some point in the recent past, someone informed someone else that there was a critical system which was almost 100 years old. They knew the critical system was part of the switching system at their main junction and a failure would mean days of service delivery problems.

But the LIRR is lucky. They have no competition. No matter how much their service might suffer, commuters really don't have any other options (unless they want to drive the Long Island Expressway during rush hour). There are no other commuter companies that a disgruntled customer can go to, no matter how unhappy they are with the Railroad.

Unfortunately, the same isn't true of about your business and your customers. Unless you continually keep your customers happy, there's another company right next door just waiting to take their business.

So ask yourself two questions.

What would happen if you couldn't run 25% of your critical business functions for several days?
What is your "97 year old technology"?

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