The Black Swan Event – ready to take down your IT Systems
According to our good friends on Wikipedia, a Black Swan Event is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.
“Most everyone who’s been in the IT business long enough has witnessed a black swan. A black swan is one of those rare but large-scale problems that can surface during a strategic IT project and lead to massive cost overruns, blown schedules, and job insecurity for those in charge.
According to recent study by Oxford University and McKinsey, these black swans are more prevalent than most of us thought. The study analyzed 1,471 large-scale global IT projects costing more than $170 million. Here is what they found:
- One in six big IT projects goes over budget by an average of 200%
- Spending on technology is 3x more likely to spiral out of control than construction or other major projects
- Traditional risk-modeling may not suffice – large-scale computer spending is 20x more likely to spiral out of control than expected
“Black swans are negative events that hit you rarely, but when they hit you, they do it with a large impact,” said Professor Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University. “IT managers tend not to see these black swans, because they assume that they’re rare, and will probably happen to somebody else. They are wrong. They happen much more often than people think.”
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What is most surprising about this information is that spending on technology is 3x more likely to spiral out of control than construction or other major projects. We have all had or heard of the horror stories that involve construction projects going so far over budget due to the countless unforeseens.
There is no better time than the present to review your Disaster Recovery Plans, so when you encounter a Black Swan Event, your systems are ready to respond and you are not down for too long. Better yet, it is time to take the necessary precautions to do what you can to prevent such a disaster from happening.
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Most computer problems that turn into extended downtime and data loss could have been prevented. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that there were problems brewing until it’s too late, and then it’s an emergency that threatens your business. Our 27 point problem prevention network audit will let you know where you stand.
Learn more about the author Bob Martin