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Systyems down! Fallback Procedure

Discussion in 'Get productive' started by Tamper Evident, May 23, 2012.

  1. Tamper Evident

    Tamper Evident Member

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    Hi,

    I use a hosted/cloud based solution for our CRM and sales.

    The system has been unavailable for the whole day today, leaving the business at a loss.

    I've previously created documents to use for quotes, orders and dispatch which can be filled in manually.

    It is clear now that we need a 'Fallback' procedure which kicks in if systems are down to minimise the impack.

    I think a check-list, together with relevant documents is sufficient.

    Does anyone have one already in place or have ideas that I can add to the below:

    Fallback Resources
    1. Contact list for suppliers - Updated monthly
    2. Master copy of critical documents (Invoice / Quotes / Purchase Orders / Picking List / Delivery Docket)
    3. Copy of pricelist - Updated at every change
    4. Script to inform customers that systems are unavailable
    5. Printable document to log work done (notes etc) Added the morning after
    6. Checklist of actions for when the system is back up Added the morning after

    Procedure
    1. Fallback trigger - any period of 30 minute or more or when unavailability is confirmed
    2. Relevant suppliers notified that documentation may be different
    3. Copy of pricelist provided to each employee.
    4. Location/copy of each master document given to customers
    5. Check of any orders which are outstanding to highlight urgent orders
    6. Run through 'System Back Up' check list Added the morning after

    Thought I would start this today as I have time on my hands...
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  2. qubitu

    qubitu New Member

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    Hi,

    Depending on the various data types your business may work with, I could suggest two solutions. I am posting from a view of preventing the failure before it impacts your staff and clients, or at least reducing the impact, but sometimes this is not economically feasible. It sounds like you already have a good idea of the procedures that need to take place, and well documented processes which can be carried out manually can work as an excellent fallback in the event of system failures.

    Failover/High-availability
    If the identified risk justifies it, you could see if your hosting provider have an option to run a replica of your solution, which can be switched to in the event of a failure of your main hosted server.

    To maximise availability there would be the option of having a replica running with an entirely different hosting provider, in the event of a data centre or comms failure with your main solution.

    Local replicas
    You could run an internal server that replicates some of your main data (doc templates, customer contact databases, supplier lists, invoices etc). This may take considerable time and resources to implement, but could provide some of the key data for your staff to continue operating at reduced impact. This could be setup to replicate changes on a scheduled basis, or as they occur on your hosted system.

    Again depending on the identified risk, you could run a complete replica of your hosted solution locally. For proprietary CRM solutions this would incur licensing fees and additional overhead, but can mitigate potential risk and allow business processes to continue without a link to the hosted system.

    Hope you find this useful,


    Daniel
  3. ABC

    ABC Member

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    Hi there. Sorry to hear about the problems today.

    I am writing a BCP now for a client so will give you my high level TOC. Its probably more than you need but here it is:

    * Electronic data/systems failure - this business holds some info electronically and others not electronically - suggest include data, systems, billings etc. Define what you can do manually and how you will do this. Should store backup elsewhere
    * Premises - this business operates from physical premises so I am helping them think through what they need to do if the building or any parts of it are not available
    * People - what happens if key personnel can't work/be there - maybe as simple as your key staff winning the lottery or have their flights back from holidays delayed

    Key is clear process of what to do, how to deal with customers, staff etc and importantly, update this and store it away from premises (physical & electronic)

    May be overkill for you but hope its helpful,
    abc
  4. Tamper Evident

    Tamper Evident Member

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    Thanks ABC
    Although we were specifically hit by system outages yesterday, a continuity plan is on our list of tasks. That throws up a lot more work but, once done, will give great piece of mind. We might never need it, but if we do could save us big time.

    For example, how do we re-route calls to another location? How do we gain access to data stored on local PCs? How do we get the knowledge out of employees heads before they leave? Lots more questions than answers at this stage
  5. ABC

    ABC Member

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    You're right - its like an insurance policy you hope you never need.

    Even large organisations (from my previous corporate consulting work) don't always get this right. It is daunting for most businesses to contemplate. Its worth doing a brain dump of what it should contain, and then instead of waiting for one day when you have the time & energy to deal with the elephant, chew off a bit at a time.

    You're on the right track and are being very sensible and proactive.

    Happy chewing
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  6. rorrock

    rorrock Member

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    And there is the bugbear with cloud based systems, you have only so much control over the resources availability. And of course your ability to reach it..
    For example our adsl has been flakey (up and down all the time) for the last week and telstra are still trying to sort it out... Luckily everything is onsite and I use my email continuation product to ensure mail is held while the link is down.

    Regards,
    Rob
  7. Tamper Evident

    Tamper Evident Member

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    To true; low cost 'Software as a Service' might be great most of the time, but when it is not, it is very frustrating.

    On the otherside, I have previous used locally installed CRM software from an Australian supplier. It went wrong once for 2 weeks and never truly recovered.
    That was FAR worse than anything I've had so far
  8. Calcul8or

    Calcul8or Active Member

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    In my humble opinion (yes, I know I could have abbreviated that, but I choose not to), my recomendation to all small businesses would be to stay the heck away from the cloud.

    Take whatever precautions you have to to ensure that your data is backed up and protected, but at least if the whole thing falls apart as in this unfortunate case, YOU will be the one driving the fix, and the ressurection of YOUR data will have absolute priority.
  9. Tamper Evident

    Tamper Evident Member

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    ...and as we talk an article on the home page in the same vein

    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/workin...ness-succession-planning-for-micro-businesses

    I have to defend the cloud decision a little.

    With any CRM system, it is unlikely that the business owner will be able to maintain, update and fix issues and glitches - we still had support for our locally installed one, but it was lacking to say the least.

    We've moved to a system called Brightpearl which has given massive benefits across the board when dealing with our customers, sales, inventory and account management We've seen 17 updates in 6 months and had one outage (which was fixed in 1 hour once the UK woke up (its UK hosted..local support is coming))

    We're happy, neigh delighted, with the service. Just had a bad day yesterday.

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