In an earlier blog I mused that I should get out more … well somebody listened … during the month of May I’ve visited five cities and have spoken with customers from Europe, Middle East & Africa, North America, and Asia-Pacific. It’s truly an honor to be asked to do so, but the convergence of these five events on four short weeks is a push for even the heartiest of travelers. Still, it’s just too good an opportunity to pass up… I meant it when I said I didn’t get out enough, and I truly enjoy every opportunity to interact with our clients.
First up was Future Matters UK, held at the historic Silverstone racing circuit in the British midlands. The Future Matters concept is a focused one day event designed for ClearPath MCP and ClearPath OS 2200 customers. Unisys hosts the event with its partners and provides a duel track format that allows participants to hear a common message as well as get details regarding their particular flavor of ClearPath system.
Silverstone was a glorious place to hold a conference, we presented in the area normally used as a press room on race day with large windows overlooking one of Silverstone’s straightaways. Fortunately it wasn’t race day and so I didn’t have to compete with too much action on the track. But we did have exciting things to talk about … the Dorado and Libra 800’s were just announced rounding out an eight month series of announcements that effectively refreshed the entire ClearPath line top to bottom. Most important to me was that we had delivered the proof point, the machine that validated our strategy, the Libra 4100 and finally realized the architectural projectorware we had been sharing with the world for nearly five years.
The keynote speaker at the UK event was Fernando Martinez, an IT consultant at CGI in Montreal, Canada. In the Summer of 2002 Fernando was the capacity planning manager for a large American bank in Buenos Aires, Argentina and found himself in the eye of the storm as that country’s financial system melted down. While this is, for sure, an exciting experience for a capacity planner it also poses challenges most do not foresee. Imagine a system that has two official currencies, the dollar and the Peso, linked to one another with parity, but while the dollar was generally sound the Peso was not and so large corporations and private citizens began converting pesos to dollars and transferring the money offshore to protect it. In response the government enacted legislation designed to stop this practice by freezing accounts and limiting withdrawal to a small weekly sum. But people are clever and they discovered that inter account activity was not controlled, so, to multiply the amount one wished to withdraw only required more accounts …. Imagine the impact on the it infrastructure if the number of new accounts created doubled every day for several days … imagine the impact not only of the added account load, but also the transaction load that resulted as well.
This isn’t a contrived situation, Fernando and his team lived it and held it up as an example of how capacity planning must address the obvious as well as the not so obvious. We’ve always known that disaster recovery planning has to address the IT aspects we are aware of, and the rather obvious connections between IT assets and their users, but how about failed business processes? Could your business survive the situation that doubled or tripled transaction load unexpectedly? Does your disaster plan have the agility needed to deal with the unforeseen? Much like the Formula 1 drivers that will take to the track at Silverstone for the Formula 1 championships in July, you never really know what around the next corner. And that is the secret … knowing that you have to constantly expect the unexpected.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll share more of my travels and customer experiences as I move beyond Europe.