Blog, Events & Press

11 Feb

13 Billboard Death by IT Performance Management

Billboard Displaying an Error

There few things in life that force me to stop and turn my car around on a highway. You can probably relate to this. Short of a family emergency or missed exit, you keep driving.

Then today, I saw this heading north on I-95 by the stadiums in Philadelphia en route to a meeting in New Jersey:

I could not snap a picture quickly enough. But after considering the epic proportions of this blunder, I decided to get off the highway, reverse direction and take a picture. Also important to note, this morning was a rainy and disgusting Monday, which made turning around even more time-consuming than usual. This example shows lack of preparation meeting bad luck. I suppose that most electronic billboards these days are TCP/IP driven, after all, they are digital. I further suppose that the likely operator of this billboard was not monitoring the billboard’s performance. How else would you explain this “billboard of death” in rather desolate state for more than the few minutes it took for me to turn around, take a picture, turn back around and head in my original direction? I could not even try to guess how many other cars saw this in that timeframe alone.

Billboards are designed to attract new customers; that is what advertisers pay for. The lost revenue of such an outage, on an hourly basis, will likely run in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, for the billboard operator. Not to mention the loss of reputation for this blunder. What is the positive news to take away from this you might ask? This type of incident is 100% avoidable. By using advanced network performance monitoring, the lack of billboard availability could have been detected almost immediately, and potentially been avoided entirely by proactively monitoring the systems that drive this billboard.

The aggregate financial loss incurred by this single incident, in addition to less tangible loss of reputation, will be hundreds, if not thousands of times greater than the amount invested for a state-of-the-art performance monitoring solution. Rarely is ROI so palpable as in this scenario. And come on, if it made me turn around, it is bound to have a profound impact on others.

Manuel Harnisch is Sr. Systems Engineer and Technology Evangelist for SevOne, Inc.

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