It seems that more and more often we are seeing issues with airlines and their associated computer systems. Most recently in the US, Delta had a major outage that backed up schedules and caused delays and cancellations in the self proclaimed "on time machine" that is Delta. The company announced that the computer issue only lasted 5 hours, but that was long enough to cause major issues that rippled through their system for days.
Sometimes it is hard to estimate monetarily, how much this impacts the company. Delta has released that number though and it is a staggering $150 million for a 5 hour glitch. This just goes to show how important investing in the back end computer systems really is. Delta has been attempting to do so, but there tends to be a disconnect with where a CTO may allocate funds and where IT actually needs funds. This may create a lack of proper funds in the place where it is needed the most.
Granted, we don't know if this is the case with Delta, but it has happened many many times with other companies. Retailers are famous for ignoring patches and updates until they are hit by a major hack that compromises customer data. Airlines and retailers alike should place quite a bit of effort in updating computer systems. Updating and preparing for situations like Delta faced will not only reduce the chances of it happening, but also reduce down time should it occur.
Now of course me sitting here making statements of how things should be done is easier said than done in the corporate world, but none the less these occurrences should be a major learning opportunity. These types of events have become par for the course, instead of a rare occurrence. Information Technology is important and often gets back burnered... time to move it to the forefront.