Seven Ways to Prepare Your IT Infrastructure for Large Scale Events

Whether it is the London Olympics or any other large scale event, your organization must prepare for an inevitable boost in traffic (both virtual and physical).  Utilities, transportation companies, telecom firms, and government entities have been planning for the London Olympics over the past several years.  But what if your company is only indirectly affected?  What steps should you take?  No matter the industry or size of your organization, there are several best practices for ensuring success:

 

1) Smart planning:   If you have not started any planning now is the time! You should build a dedicated task force within your company to identify all potential business issues and formulate mitigation strategies

2) Prepare your workers:  Large events always test the capabilities of the public infrastructure in the city they’re hosted.  You will need to work out telework options, videoconferencing technologies, and alternate work schedules far in advance.

3) Know your network infrastructure:  You must prepare your infrastructure for the increase in traffic generated by large events.  Identify your mission critical applications and don’t forget to allow additional resources for employees watching the events online.

4) Don’t forget about mobile users:  Research suggests that over 1.2 million people will be traveling to London for the Olympics, and you can be assured they will be bringing their mobile devices with them. Furthermore, mobile users (72% according to recent Gartner research) expect websites to perform the same when they access it from these devices. You must ensure your IT infrastructure is optimized for mobile access or you will risk losing significant revenue.

5) Test, test, and test some more:  Once your preparations have been made, you must ensure the proper tests are conducted to mitigate risk or identify unforeseen problems. Granted, you will not be able to diagnose 100% of your problems just by testing. However, the more testing you conduct, the more complete your view of the entire IT infrastructure will be. Furthermore, testing allows your operations team to simulate potential nightmare scenarios. This experience will prove vital if disaster strikes during the big event.

6) Ensure monitoring is in place:  Having the proper monitoring tools to in place can help identify problems before they turn into a disaster.  Monitoring your online transactions end to end will ensure you remain SLA complaint and provide the best end user experience possible. These tools are vital during big surges in traffic. Correlsense’s SharePath is one such monitoring tool.

7) Remember it’s not a sprint:   Remember to start planning as soon as possible; two thirds of your time should be spent planning while one third executing. The run up to the event will demand more resources, costs, and time. Keep the momentum going through-out the entire event and close out properly after. Your business will emerge as a winner if you remain focused during the entire event process. Two thirds of organizations prospered during the Vancouver Olympics and there is a strong correlation between organizations that see the most benefit and those that have spent time and effort in preparing beforehand (BT, Vancouver Research, 2010).

There will be plenty of preparation involved in any large scale event and buy-in from your key workers is essential. What are your best practices for preparing? What tools, methods, or techniques do you use to execute?

 

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