A client since 1999, Telstra Super has a successful history working with Interactive, progressing from a hardware maintenance client to include its disaster recovery data centre. Support Services Manager Sam Muir joined Telstra Super in 2010 with the goal to reassess the business continuity and disaster recovery plans. “At the time there was a need to improve the ownership of the disaster recovery function, including enhancing the documentation and policies. Our documentation has vastly improved with the assistance of Interactive, with on-site business continuity plan (BCP) simulations testing our preparedness and how we react in the event of disaster,” said Sam Muir. These simulations included an assessment of how many seats at Interactive would be required to uphold business-as-usual operations, as well as bringing different teams on-site to test their own individual department functions. As a result of regular disaster recovery mapping and testing, team leaders were far more engaged with the business continuity program, taking leadership of their own team’s requirements to maintain business-as-usual functionality should a disaster affect business operations.
One morning at 6.30am, Sam Muir found their disaster recovery plan needed to be put into action after discovering internal office flooding due to a burst water pipe which affected 90% of the office’s capacity. “The situation we walked in to can only be described as ‘heavy rain in the office’ – the water was coming down from the ninth floor to the two lower levels, dripping on to desks and risking hardware damage along with a litany of other OH&S issues – for both returning to work and also just being on site to manage the issue as it unfolded.” Within two hours, we had successfully switched off the main water supply and the disaster recovery plan was underway – with management declaring the disaster and nominating the core business functions to resume operations at Interactive. Telstra Super’s customer service function was most affected, with the team usually taking more than 40 calls an hour. The morning of the incident was managed by diverting the call centre’s enquiries to the Sydney office, before the six call centre team members took their seats at Interactive, seamlessly transitioning to continue their day-to-day business operations. In a disaster recovery scenario, the situation needs to be assessed every few hours and signed off by OH&S before work can resume. Despite flooding stopping for over 24-hours, the office was declared an unfit environment for work due to the dust, noise and heat generated from fans attempting to dry the office.
In the days following, Interactive was able to scale up their solution for Telstra Super, creating a flexible solution and providing additional seating for staff to aid the smooth continuity of the business operating offsite. “Telstra Super was impressed with the service from Interactive, as the disaster unfolded they rapidly accommodated our changing needs. No request was too great.” said Sam Muir. Telstra Super was able to make excellent use of the facilities at Interactive, including, the meeting rooms, theatre and common areas. A training course previously planned for Telstra Super team members during the time of the disaster proceeded as planned, with the training supplier holding the sessions in Interactive’s impressive Light Theatre. “Our team members and senior management saw real benefit from spending time at Interactive during this incident. They experienced first hand the importance of a partner that could scale up to meet our changing needs and how in the event of a disaster without proper planning our business could cease to function and the cost associated with this shut down .” “Interactive’s strong and collaborative internal culture also had an influence on our team, everyone who spent time at Interactive HQ experienced this ,” said Sam. “Our extremely positive experience has had flow on effect with other teams within Telstra Super and has encouraged them to use Interactive’s facilities for reasons other than disaster recovery, strengthening our partnership and adding real value to our business.” Muir believes the management of this incident has increased the recognition and respect for Telstra Super’s disaster recovery plans across the board.
Additional reading: 10 questions you should ask your Business Continuity service provider
"The relationship between Interactive and Telstra Super really flourished with our teams and senior management seeing the power in our partnership – how it runs and how they support our critical business functions."Sam Muir Support Services Manager