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Legacy computer systems and a lack a scalable telephony: why NHS Test and Trace’s latest IT blunder is a lesson to us all

By Matt Parker, CEO at Babble

It baffles me that some 16,000 who had tested positive for Covid did not have their information uploaded to the Test and Trace system because it was reliant on a 13-year-old legacy IT and, as it turns out, a complicated Excel sheet. This then caused a daunting backlog of phone calls that needed to be made quickly to inform an estimated 40,000 people that they may have Covid and would need to self-isolate. It then turns out that this was just the tip of the iceberg – the phones came crashing down, unable to cope with the unprecedent load on the system. The technology was not fit for purpose; a ridiculously important purpose.

The knock-on effect of NHS Test and Trace’s blunder has been catastrophic. Aside from the health risks involved, at a time when the Government needed public trust the most, its reputation has suffered thanks for the failure of its system. All because of poor technology solutions.

Whether you are running a large company, enterprise or Government, this error is a stark reminder to us as to how important flexible, scalable communications systems are in dealing with the strains of sudden, heightened demand. It highlights exactly why organisations must prioritise technology solutions which enable them to deliver what their customers’ needs whatever is thrown at them – all while remaining secure.

Those that implement strategies that are more digital, data-driven and cloud-based, will be the ones to thrive moving forwards. Being agile through the leverage of new cloud technologies and the removal of legacy applications, will be the first and most important factor in the journey to business continuity, wider business transformation and, ultimately, long-term success.

So, what should decision-makers have at the forefront of their minds when considering what steps to take when it comes to implementing more flexible, scalable IT?

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