Does your business pack a punch at large events?

Proper planning based on ITIL Planning, Protection and Optimisation processes can help organisations to manage increases in demand for IT and ensure resilience of IT systems, writes Bryan MacKenzie of Quintica

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Does your business pack a punch at large events? Organisations need proper capacity planning to prepare for large events, says MacKenzie.
By  Bryan MacKenzie Published  August 17, 2014

Millions of fans descended on Brazil to celebrate the beautiful game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Hosting a global event such as this is by no means a menial task so FIFA lays out stringent requirements for the host nation to follow — Brazil had to plan every aspect of the event from supporting the sheer number of visitors, to a plan of action in the unfortunate case of an emergency such as the collapse of the highway overpass to one of the stadiums.

When any business entity is undertaking such a large event, it’s important for the management team to ask this very important question — can our business actually survive if given such mammoth responsibility?

Know the specifics
Planning a large event is like planning a world tour; you have to do it in small steps and start by taking note of all the important details — in Brazil’s case how many people would attend, how would they arrive, where would they stay (the cities), how would they commute? Then there are the larger ‘what if’ questions like what’s the plan of action in the face of disasters such as fire or flooding.

It’s critical to take the time to ask ‘how do I as a supplier within a supply chain of such magnitude manage such a Herculean task?’ The first step is to ensure you have what is called a Performance, Protection and Optimisation (PPO for short) process in place. Quintica can assist enterprises in defining this process through the foundation and implementation of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices.

In a nutshell ITIL is a set of practices for Information Technology Service Management (ITSM), where the focus is on aligning IT services with the everyday needs of the business. ITIL practices can help organisations address various aspects including capacity management, availability management, information security, IT service continuity and risk management.

Planning for success
While deploying ITIL best practices is absolutely critical when the scope of work is gigantic, it is not something reserved for only the organisers of a World Cup, the Olympics or even a rock concert — it is something that every organisation should deploy in its day-to-day business.

With the best practices defined by an ITIL framework, it will become much easier to identify what customers need from the business on a daily basis. The enterprise then needs to ensure that these demands are met by understanding how the inter-relationships and dependencies between the processes within the supply chain impact each other and influence expected outputs.

Employees at every critical level within the organisation also need to fully understand the risk of losing customers, and should in turn be well versed with ITIL Planning, Protection and Optimisation. This knowledge can be imparted to employees by ensuring that they undertake the relevant training courses, which explore all of the above and advise business and IT practitioners to roll out business plans that undertake to explore adequate risk analysis, management, planning and implementing business continuity strategies, as well as equally important disaster recovery plans.

You can pack a punch
The benefits of relying on ITIL best practices are diverse and numerous. Using the World Cup as an example capacity management will assist in the decision making process with regards to the establishment of stadiums that offer sufficient seating capacity, an end-to-end transport system, hotels, and B&Bs. Additionally, it can also assist the organisation in identifying and deploying the appropriate resources on the roads to assist with traffic, as well as ensuring that there is enough assistance on the ground at transport hubs such as airports, train stations or bus and taxi stands.

Sticking with the World Cup example, an availability management solution will ensure that visitors have sufficient access and information when it’s time to purchase tickets and when planning routes to the stadiums for matches. Deploying and relying on risk management and security management best practices on the flip side will ensure that ticket fraud is reduced, and that there are enough security personnel at each stadium to ensure that only people with valid tickets can enter the stadium.

But preplanning and logistical administration are just one part of the equation. As an organisation that is contracted and expected to deliver, you also need to ensure things don’t fall apart in the event of a crisis, regardless of what it may be. Here again the organisation has to take a step back and think about contingency plans in the case that a fire should break out or security is breached. Effective continuity management will ensure that issues are identified and overcome so that the risk to fans is minimised and that, in this case, the event as a whole can go on (within acceptable reason).

In short, with ITIL in place your business can continue to service and delight customers no matter the size of the task, the nature of your business, or the risk factors at play.

Bryan MacKenzie is Managing Director, Quintica Middle East.

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