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Last month the Australian taxation commissioner reached a commercial settlement with HPE over two outages that took down the ATO’s services. The 2nd high-profile failure event, back in February, lasted long enough to capture national press attention and ultimately resulted in an investigation by an Australian Senate committee. Reporting to the committee, the commissioner said that at its heart the failure was due to a design that favoured speed over resiliency, made worse by poorly configured maintenance.

It is interesting that even with its multi-million dollar IT budgets the ATO was unable to procure a system that met its needs. In truth, it is most likely that right now the ATO is the process of procuring a new system that still doesn’t meet its needs – but this time it will be massively over-engineered in reaction to this year’s events. It’s difficult not to fight the last war, rather than the coming one.

Whilst the ATO may make national headlines, smaller organisations are of course having to make similar risk-cost design tradeoffs all the time. Smarter organisations understand that there are significant differences (typically a few percentage point of the organisation’s entire yearly revenue) between options that are too risky vs too costly. Getting this IT balancing act right is essential.

BlueScale believes in an IT design process that takes into account the full gamut of concerns: cost, time, performance, appetite for risk, etc… The consequences of getting the process wrong are readily apparent at the ATO, where the design ultimately failed to prioritise the organisation’s needs correctly.

Do your IT systems meet your needs? Are you operating with too much IT risk? Or are you massively overspending for reasons that you don’t really understand? If you worry your IT systems are not hitting the right combination of cost, performance, stability and resilience, please drop us a line to right-size your IT strategy.

Article written by Peng Chen