Disaster Recovery

Because information technology is now integrated in most businesses, a business continuity plan (BCP) cannot be complete without a corresponding disaster recovery plan (DRP). While a BCP encompasses everything needed – personnel, facilities, communications, processes and IT infrastructure – for a continuous delivery of products and services, a DRP is more focused on the IT aspects of the plan.

If you’re still not sure how big an impact loss of data can have, it’s time you pondered on the survival statistics of companies that incurred data losses after getting hit by a major disaster: 46% never recovered and 51% eventually folded after only two years.

Realising how damaging data loss can be to their entire business, most large enterprises allocate no less than 2% of their IT budget to disaster recovery planning. Those with more sensitive data apportion twice more than that.

A sound disaster recovery plan is hinged on the principles of business continuity. As such, our DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) blueprints are aimed at getting your IT system up and running in no time. Here’s what we can do for you:

  • Since the number one turn-off against BCPs and DRPs are their price tags, we’ll make a thorough and realistic assessment of possible risks to determine what specific methods need to be applied to your organisation and make sure you don’t spend more than you should.
  • Provide an option for virtualisation to enjoy substantial savings on disaster recovery costs.
  • Provide various backup options and suggest schedules and practices most suitable for your daily transactions.
  • Offer data replication to help you achieve business continuity with the shortest allowable downtime.
  • Refer to your overall BCP to determine your organisation’s critical functions, services, and products as well as their respective priority rankings to know what corresponding IT processes need to be in place first.
  • Implement IT Security to your system to reduce the risks associated with malware and hackers.
  • Introduce best practices to make future disaster recovery efforts as seamless as possible.

We can also assist you with the following:

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Data Replication

Medical Data Form

These days, not many companies can continue to operate once their entire computer system goes down. All the information needed in daily operations are stored in databases while the interfaces that make use of them all come in the form of software applications.

Software applications can be rapidly reinstalled and configured for as long as the necessary programs are available. Data, however, cannot be reconstructed as quickly even with hard copies available. It is therefore necessary to store your data in a replicated setup so that when one section goes down, operations can proceed without interruption.

For instance, if a category 5 hurricane renders your main office useless, you can simply rent workstations elsewhere, connect to the Internet and continue with your usual transactions for as long as data is readily accessible.

So how do we ensure the accessibility and reliability of your data? Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Activate data replication on your database management system. If your DBMS does not support replication, we’ll migrate all your data to one that does.
  • If absolutely necessary, we can allow modernised systems to run parallel to your legacy systems and prepare both for full modernisation when you’re ready.
  • Implement fail-over technologies where applicable to provide for automatic switching to a backup data server or network from one that has just failed.

We can also assist you with the following:

Technology and process improvement

Tightening organisational flow to improve productivity and minimise costs is a growing concern for many businesses post the Global Financial Crisis. Businesses can no longer afford to waste time and personnel on inefficient processes. Organisations using either Six Sigma or Lean techniques better manage their existing resources to maximise product out-put. Both of these techniques involve considerable evaluation of current processes.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is an organisational management strategy that evaluates processes for variation. In the Six Sigma model, variation equates waste. Eliminating variation for customer fulfilment allows a business to better serve the end-user. In this thought model, the only way to streamline processes is to use statistical data. Each part of a process must be carefully recorded and analysed for variation and potential improvements. The heart of the strategy embodied by Six Sigma is mathematical. Every process is subject to mathematical analysis and this allows for the most effective problem solving.

What is a Lean Model?

Lean businesses do not rely on mathematical models for improvement. Instead, the focus is on reducing steps in the customer delivery cycle, which do not add value to the final deliverable. For example, maintaining excess inventory or dealing with shortages would both be examples of waste behaviour. Businesses that operate using Lean strategies have strong cash flow cycles. One of the best and most famous examples of Lean in action is the Toyota Production System (TPS). In this system, not only is inventory minimised, but physical movement for employees also remains sharply controlled. Employees are able to reach everything needed to accomplish their tasks, without leaving the immediate area. By reducing the amount of movement needed to work, companies also remove wasted employee time.

Industry Applications for Lean and Six Sigma

Lean businesses reduce the number of steps between order and delivery. The less inventory on hand, the less it costs a business to operate. In industries where it is possible to create to order, Lean thinking offers significant advantages. Lean is best utilised in mature businesses. New companies, operating on a youthful model, may not be able to identify wasteful processes. Six Sigma has shown its value across industries through several evolution’s. Its focus on quality of process makes it a good choice for even brand new businesses. The best use is the combination of the two strategies. With the Lean focus on speed and the Six Sigma focus on quality combined, the two organisational processes create synergy. By itself, Lean does not help create stable, repeating success. Six Sigma does not help increase speed and reduce non value-added behaviours. Combined, these two strategies offer incredible value to every business in cost savings.

Using Technology to Implement Lean Six Sigma

Automation processes represent an opportunity for businesses to implement a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma strategies. Any technology that replaces the need for direct human oversight reduces costs and increases productivity. A few examples of potentially cost saving IT solutions include document scanning, the Internet, and automated workflow systems.

  • Document Scanning – Reducing dependency on paper copies follows both Lean and Six Sigma strategies. It is a Lean addition in that it allows employees to access documents instantly from any physical location. It is Six Sigma compliant in that it allows a reduction on process variation, since there is no bottleneck on the flow of information.
  • The Internet – The automation potential offered by the Internet is limitless. Now, businesses can enter orders, manage logistics and perform customer service activities from anywhere, through a hosted portal. With instant access to corporate processes from anywhere, businesses can manage workflow globally, allowing them to realise cost savings from decentralisation.
  • Automated Work Systems – One of the identified areas of waste in any business is processing time. The faster orders are processed and delivered, the greater the profits for the company and the less the expense per order. When orders sit waiting for attention, they represent lost productivity and waste. Automated work systems monitor workflow and alert users when an item sits longer than normal. These systems can also reroute work to an available employee when the original worker is tied up.

Each of these IT solutions provides a method for businesses to either reduce the number of steps in a process or improve the quality of the process for improved customer service.

Identifying Areas for Lean Six Sigma Implementation

Knowing that improved processes result in improved profits, identifying areas for improvement is the next step. There are several techniques for creating tighter processes with less waste and higher quality. Value Stream Mapping helps business owners and managers identify areas of waste by providing a visual representation of the total process stream. Instead of improving single areas for minimal increases in productivity, VSM shows the entire business structure and flow, allowing management to target each area of slow down for maximum improvement in all areas.

Seeing the areas of waste helps management better determine how processes should work to best obtain the desired outcomes. Adding in automated processes helps with improved process management, when put in place with a complete understanding of current systems and their weaknesses. Start with mapping and gain a bird’s-eye view of the situation, in order to make the changes needed for improvement.

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Scrumming Down to Complete Projects

Everybody knows about rugby union scrums. For our purposes, perhaps it is best to view them as mini projects where the goal is to get the ball back to the fly-half no matter what the opposition does. Some scrums are set pieces where players follow planned manoeuvres. Loose / rolling scrums develop on the fly where the team responds as best according to the situation. If that sounds to you like software project management then read on, because there are more similarities?.

Isn’t Scrum Project Management the Same as Agile?

No it’s not, because Scrum is disinterested in customer liaison or project planning, although the team members may be happy to receive the accolades following success. In the same way that rugby players let somebody else decide the rules and arrange the fixtures, a software Scrum team just wants the action.

Scrum does however align closely ? dare I say interchangeably with Agile?s sprints. Stripping it of all the other stages frees the observer up to analyse it more closely in the context of a rough and tumble project, where every morning can begin with a backlog of revised requirements to back fit.

The 3 Main Phases of a Scrum

A Scrum is a single day in the life of a project, building onto what went before and setting the stage for what will happen the following day. The desired output is a block of component software that can be tested separately and inserted later. Scrumming is also a useful technique for managing any project that can be broken into discreet phases. The construction industry is a good example.

Phase 1 – Define the Backlog. A Scrum Team?s day begins with a 15 minute planning meeting where team members agree individual to-do lists called ?backlogs?.

Phase 2 – Sprint Towards the Goal. The team separates to allow each member to complete their individual lines of code. Little or no discussion is needed as this stage.

Phase 3 – Review Meeting. At the end of each working day, the team reconvenes to walk down what has been achieved, and check the interconnected functionality.

The 3 Main Phases of a Scrum ? Conclusions and Thoughts

Scrum is a great way to liberate a competent project team from unnecessary constraints that liberate creativity. The question you need to ask yourself as manager is, are you comfortable enough to watch proceedings from the side lines without rushing onto the field to grab the ball.

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