By Boris Sedacca
On a scale of one to ten for PR disasters, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) IT fiasco must rank as ten. According to The Register, the computer glitch that left millions of customers unable to access their accounts could have been caused by just one junior technician at the RBS in India.
“Job adverts show that at least some of the team responsible for the blunder were recruited earlier this year in India following IT job cuts at RBS in the UK,” reveals The Register.
“The tech problems at the RBS banking group that left millions of people unable to access money for four days last week were caused by a failure in a piece of batch scheduling software.”
The Register quotes a former employee familiar with RBS's use of the CA-7 tool as saying: “RBS do use CA-7 and do update all accounts overnight on a mainframe via thousands of batch jobs scheduled by CA-7. Backing out of a failed update to CA-7 really ought to have been a trivial matter for experienced operations and systems programming staff, especially if they knew that an update had been made. That this was not the case tends to imply that the criticisms of the policy to ‘off-shore’ also hold some water.”
But it gets much worse: a defendant granted bail at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent on Friday ended up spending the weekend in prison and was not freed until Monday because it was unclear whether his bail payment had been made.
OK, so some may say that this is not a PR disaster but an IT one. However an IT disaster quickly becomes a PR disaster when millions of people are adversely affected, and as a result RBS is pulling back on some PR activities, including the cancellation of its corporate hospitality at Wimbledon from today, saying it would be ‘inappropriate’ to continue providing the hospitality. According to the Press Association, it also confirmed it had cancelled a one-day golf tournament at Gleneagles in Scotland that was due to feature golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
IT disasters happen all the time – everybody knows that and has experienced one or several of them at some stage. The difference is in magnitude because large IT disasters quickly become PR disasters.
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