Business Service Management and Taxes!

Posted on 14 April 2011

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year in the US, tax season.  It has a been a few years since Intuit experienced a major outage on filing day, but many of us loyal Turbo Tax, eFilers remember it fondly.  The original article appeared in ComputerWorld and while the headline hypes the dollars forked over by Intuit, I recall it was more of a rounding error in the larger Intuit revenue total.

It does serve as a reminder what an early warning systems can provide with proactive signals calling attention to degrading components and what service they are tied to and what the impact of the outage will mean.  In this case, there was a monetary loss, however, I suspect the bigger threat was brand and loyalty.

Intuit suffered a greater loss that I blogged on last year taking down their software-as-a-service Quick Books for several days.  This one must have felt more like a Dilbert moment where they had a back-up data center, in the same data center that experienced the power outage.  Doh!  This one I cannot say that an early warning system would have helped and this one was a bit more costly and again hit brand and loyalty hard.

I use these as examples that there are revenue costs to outages (1-2% of revenue annually and some single outages are 1-2% of revenue themselves), but there is also a difficult to quantify loss in customer loyalty and faith in the company.

I recall I had just filed mine when the outage started.  I was late that year, but an inch sooner than the outage.  I am still a loyal Turbo Tax eFiler, however, I don’t wait until the last minute any longer, but a sound business service management strategy and supporting tools are the dashboard to early warnings – just like your car.

What do you use for your early warning system?


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