Puff! Just like that, the network dies. Everyone knows how quickly frustration spreads through an organisation when problems are encountered with IT systems. Not to mention the amount of value that is at stake. For ABB rapid action is vital in the event of its IT systems being disrupted.
“If an important IS/IT system goes down, it can mean a drop in production worth millions of Swedish kronor,” says Mats Granström, IS Information Manager at ABB Sweden’s CIO Office in Västerås.
One of Sweden’s largest companies – with business-critical IT systems
ABB of Sweden is a leading supplier of products and systems for power transmission, as well as process and industrial automation. The company has large centres of operation in Västerås, with around 4,200 employees, and Ludvika, where approximately 2,700 people are employed, as well as 10 or so other production sites.
Mats Granström and his colleagues are responsible for nationwide IS/IT for all of ABB’s divisions in Sweden. In keeping with current thinking, ABB has chosen to outsource development and operation, which means having numerous partners who are partly responsible for the operation of a host of different systems.
“Add to this potential problem the fact that if our own internal networks are down, crisis communication via the intranet is of absolutely no use to us,” observes Mats.
Communication and teamwork in crisis situations
This, among other considerations, prompted ABB to develop its own tool ABB IWP (ABB Incident Work Place) within Projectplace. The purpose of IWP is to create a shared workspace, or operational hub, for all the parties that must work together to resolve an incident.
“We had two keywords in mind when designing IWP that were more important than any others,” explains Mats.
“First and foremost ‘security’. Information that is disseminated to various stakeholders through IWP is ABB’s internal data, which must not leak beyond the team working to resolve the incident in question. Our second keyword was ‘simplicity’. The crisis team comprises 10 or so people, and with external participants, including consultants and specialists for example, in excess of 30 people may use IWP in the event of a major incident. It has to be easy to use.”