Business Resilience

December 4th, 2012 Comments Off on Business Resilience

Imagine that you are operate a business and something outside your control happens. Say, a power transformer blows resulting in emergency response and an extended, unplanned power outage.

What do you do? Can your business continue to operate?

When we were putting Oddyssea together, we thought about situations like this and made infrastructure selections that we hoped would prove resilient in a time of need. The situation described played out yesterday and we were able to continue our business operations; albeit, without lights 😉

Three fundamental choices we made enabled this resilience.

The first was our store operating system from Vend. This is “cloud” or “software-as-a-service” software that is available to you for use as long as you have access to the network.

The second was the selection of a payment system from a processor called Square. This combination enabled us to continue to accept credit cards as long as we had access to the network.

The final choice was in hosting both Square and Vend on an iPad with access to wifi (failed) and cellular (stayed up) network infrastructure. We don’t use the cellular service often, but when it’s needed it provides a reasonable and reliable backup for our other networking infrastructure.

Since the iPad was charged and already in use, it was a simple launch of a browser session to enable Vend and we were good to go. The one compromise (other than lack of lights) we made was in writing receipts by hand for those customers uncomfortable with an email / SMS receipt.

We hope we don’t have to move to this kind of operation frequently, but it was comforting to know that we were resilient when the need arose. Thanks to Vend, Square, Apple, and AT&T for making that possible.

And also a big thanks to the local Fire Department and PGE for coming out to address the danger and get the situation fixed. We appreciate your hard work!

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