British Gas Migration Nightmare

Lest anyone had forgotten how centrally important IT systems are to an enterprise then this story from the BBC website should serve as a good reminder.

Implementing a new mission critical system is never easy, especially if it involves a significant data migration.

I just hope that British Gas went for a Big Bang changeover.  If they did, then probably the mess will get mopped up quite quickly.  In fact the level of damage could have been worse for such a major exercise.

However, if this is the start of phased migration then there are many months of misery to come for the call centre people.

British Gas reportedly took on an extra 800 customer facing staff to deal with the problems.  Maybe the IT staff or consultants who assured and implemented the new system should take their turn at manning the phones?

There are proactive ways of ensuring that these sorts of problems are minimised (PPPPPP anyone?) but to be honest, it’s too easy to sling mud in these circumstances – we have all been involved in an odd disaster!  So, knowing the sheer complexity of these types of projects you have to have some sympathy with the project team.

The focus now should not be on apportioning blame but on solving the problem that British Gas customers are facing, preferably without having to recruit a further 800 staff.  In this regard I hope the IT team are working on some one-time correction processes to do this job automatically.

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