--> Gill Blog: August 2003

Gill Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Study Finds IT Departments Not Prepared for Blackout

According to a recent survey of US companies conducted by Info-Tech Research Group, more than 60% of IT departments did not have formal plans and procedures in place to deal with the blackout. Although more than 76% of companies surveyed said that the blackout had an impact on their organization, most of them admitted that they were not sufficiently prepared.

Info-Tech reports that 82% of companies are concerned that another blackout will hit their area within the next twelve months, and are taking steps to ensure that they will be better prepared for the next time. “On a positive note, I think that this blackout was a wake-up call for a lot of companies,” said Jason Livingstone, Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “63% of those surveyed said that they were either going to create a new disaster recovery plan, or update an existing plan.”

We'd add this for our clients: updates to "disaster recovery plans" should include provisions to ensure "business continuity" throughout events of mass disruption, to the greatest extent possible, not just recovery after the fact.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Multimedia Presentation of Article 3 Now Available

Those of you who have not checked back to the website in the past week will notice that in addition to the abstract of Article 3 (Costs, Benefits, Drivers and Caution Signs for Dispersal). We have also posted our latest multimedia presentation on this paper available in TB2 format in our research section. Like the others , this provides an informative overview of a very relevant topic within the world of real estate continuity. So if it's relevant to you, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and launch.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Kunstler Knew

Some quotes from our conversation with James Howard Kunstler (July 29) worth revisting a few days after the big power outage:

" complaints about skyscrapers now extend to a consideration of whether we can even run them technically in the post cheap fossil fuel age which we are fast approaching. Office towers and the like are huge energy hogs -- between the HVAC and elevators -- and they may simply be unaffordable." (a picture says a thousand words)

"The electric grid may not be dependable twenty years from now"

"...mega enterprises are not going to survive the resource wars of this new century..."

"By the way, there ain't gonna be any hydrogen economy"

Kunstler's words can be put in a more meaningful context once we have a basic idea of how power grids actually work. If you didn't already read our discussion with James Howard Kunstler, it takes on much greater meaning following the blackout and the reactions over the past few days.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Sins of Omission

ICF Consulting has released a timely Issue Paper on the U.S. Northeast Blackout, August 14, 2003. This paper asks and answers some of the important questions: What are the root causes of the problem? Why has this situation been allowed to develop? What should happen next?

There's nothing like a day away from the distractions caused by electricity, to give us pause to ask these important questions and to think about how we'd do business in any event of mass disruption affecting our companies. Much of the resistance to planning for business continuity comes from a natural inclination to believe that, whatever the theoretical problem, it couldn't happen here or it couldn't happen to me. After all, this isn't Baghdad, or some third-world country. Our governments have everything under control.

Hopefully, this event will be a wake-up call, not only for governments with responsiblity for provision of essential services, but also for corporate executives with the responsibility for their own business continuity under all conditions, not just under the most fortunate circumstances imaginable.

Blogging in the Darkness

Maintaining business continuity during the Great Blackout is a challenge that few executives were prepared for.

It takes more than a total power failure to stop Gill from blogging. Fortunately, we were prepared to post messages to the Gill weblog from "always on" wireless email technology of the amazing BlackBerry - even though our Internet connection is down because of the massive power failure across much of Canada and the USA. Our clients and business associates in areas unaffected will be able to hear from us using the Internet. Clients in the affected area have been in regular contact using their BlackBerry handheld devices, which performed flawlessly during the crisis.

Power on, or power off, we'll be commenting here later today about the implications of today's electricity crisis for business continuity planning.

Monday, August 11, 2003

New Research on Costs and Benefits of Dispersion

We have added the third abstract of our series of papers on the Research page. The full version of this paper, which is available to our clients, provides a framework that decision makers can use as a template to assess the viability of a decentralization program withing their own workplace. This brief abstract provides a table detailing the principal learning benefits associated with the paper, according to the industry verticals in which executives will find this paper relevant to their own planning. The multimedia version of this abstract will be released later in the week on the Research page of this website.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Storage Guardian a Gill Advisor

No comprehensive dispersal strategy is complete without adequately addressing the critical area of data management. The name of the game is creating multiple layers of redundancy, and redundancy of data remains the most important area, especially for those firms whose threshold for operational downtime is practically zero.

In this regard, we are very pleased to feature one of our advisors this week. Storage Guardian provides secure, online data management and recovery solutions for small and mid-size enterprise-wide LANs, and will be a key contributor to data management solutions for our clients. Here's 20 reasons why we recommend StorGuard remote backup strategies for Gill clients.

Friday, August 01, 2003


From time to time, when we come across websites that are particularly relevant to the subjects of interest to Gill clients, we add them as permanent links in the beige navigation menu on the left side of this page. Just roll your mouse over the black headings in that navigation menu to see the links light up orange. There's always something new to explore in these special links to external websites of special value.

This week, under the heading "Which blogs do we like?" we've added a weblog called City Comforts Blog that is well written by David Sucher from Seattle. David's blog contributes his own critical thinking to subjects of interest to planners and developers and points toward all the places you can possibly think of that have anything to do with New Urbanism; there the connection to Kunstler, also on his link list, whom we engaged in an interesting discussion here just last week.

Under the heading "Where's more good stuff?" in the left navigation menu, we have included a very interesting link to that is, according to its tagline, A Journal of the Built & Natural Environment. This is a fantastic site that really positions the world of urban planning front and center, and again very closely ties into Kunstler's world.

We have chosen to highlight an article that appears on titled Sustainable Cities: A Strategy for a Post-Terrorized World. In the context of what we are discussing here on the Gill weblog, this article adds to the overall picture of planning for real estate continuity. The foundation of the argument is that groups (communities, organizations) need to create sustainable environments that build organically. In the practical world of organizational planning, there are certainly more than a few pearls of wisdom that can be extracted from this very interesting article.

An organization begins contemplating the logistics of building a new facility in a greenfield or on brownfield site. Does it follow a pre-determined cookie-cutter facility model, or can it organically create an environment that is special and... well, Superbia? Beyond traditional suburbs, we foresee super urban projects in newly developed communities, smaller cities, towns and villages, dispersed from the major urban cores. New facilities should be planned with a new urban philosphy, too.