Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to an event at the Red Bull Formula One Racing Team factory. If I am honest, I’m not a great F1 fan but I couldn’t help but be amazed at some of the things I learnt during the day.

It must be great, and certainly this was the sense I got from the employees I met, to work in a place where the corporate goal is so singular, so visible and so frequently measured that everyone knows without doubt what their role and objectives are about.

For a couple of reasons, I haven’t really watched or followed Formula One for a number of years but the air of excitement and tension around the place, knowing that the team’s drivers were on a circuit practising for the race itself in a couple of days’ time was tangible throughout the place.

The topic of the day was data and how organisations need to create, store and use it, particularly with aspects such as GDPR to consider. The choice of venue was especially relevant because the engineers and teams gather data on literally everything. The margins between winning and losing in their world are minute so nothing is left to chance. Redesigns, adjustments, tweaks, ideas, builds and tests are undertaken numerous times per day and just to make it interesting delivery of the end product takes place at a different remote location around the world every two weeks (or less). Oh, and the governing body specifies very stringent rules and limitations on what the teams can and cannot do – think in terms of trying to do your job with one hand behind your back and having your laptop available for only 2 hours per day!

If you think the same car gets rolled out each weekend, think again. Every circuit is different so the teams cannot afford to settle for the ‘middle ground’ and hope the car is good for all situations, no way, it’s got to be honed to perfection. Failure is not an option.

We were lucky enough to watch the teams working whilst practise was underway and these guys were in addition to the team at the track. Now, if ever there is a need for a resilient infrastructure and set up this is it.

To illustrate the point, the race is scheduled for, say, 14.30 on Sunday. If the team doesn’t get there, isn’t ready or fails at any point during the process that’s tough! The competitors won’t wait for you (if anything they will thank you), the race organisers have to get on with it and in this age of TV ruling our schedules the event is going ahead regardless. Added to this is the fact that your sponsors will not be impressed if the car does not make it onto the track and could be demanding compensation from you so once again failure is not an option.

More conventional organisations have the luxury of ‘well, it’s OK, we can cope with a delay of xx hours, maybe our customers won’t even notice’ but there are times when that approach simply does not wash.

I came away with nothing but admiration for the organisation and the people in it. The pursuit of perfection and focus on delivery at a specific point in time was impressive.

So although the day was to discuss and learn about data storage and useage it was apparent that resilience must also be a core discipline in all aspects of the team’s work. If you get a chance to visit such an operation make sure you attend – you will be impressed.

Finally, (and my friend Anthony will rib me again for always closing with this), if you need help with your resilience programme just let me know.

May 19, 2017 at 11:29 am
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Category: Business Continuity, Resilience
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