Joan Wilson was hurriedly leaving the office of Raymond Pressly, the Chairman and CEO of MailPress Corporation. As the newly hired CIO she had not...
Joan Wilson was hurriedly leaving the office of Raymond Pressly, the Chairman and CEO of MailPress
Corporation. As the newly hired CIO she had not expected her second meeting with Mr. Pressly would be
so soon or under such disturbing circumstances. Mr. Pressly had been waiting for her arrival in this
morning with the news of the fire at End Point, Inc. last week. End Point provided web hosting services
for a number of companies in the Pittsburgh area including the local Steel City Arena Football Team to
which Mr. Press had an ownership stake. The fire had been devastating, turning the 75 servers in the web
hosting data center into a mass of melted plastic and metal. â€œIt has been seven days and the Steel Cityâ€™s
website is still down and so are our opening day ticket sales.â€ Mr. Press had stated in the call that brought
Joan to the 8:00 am meeting. â€œWhat would we do if something like that happened here?â€ he asked.
Joan Wilson had asked her Executive Assistant to grab a copy of the companyâ€™s Business Recovery Plan
so she could bring it to her meeting with Mr. Pressly. It only took about two minutes for Mr. Pressly to
realize that the plan was written before the merger with Flair Mail Marketing three years ago, which had
more than doubled the size of MailPress. Not only did it fail to cover the company in full but the changes
to the business practices and support systems, in particular the move to the Internet and World Wide
Web, were not even discussed. Further, while the plan was strong on Disaster Recovery for situations
such as that at End Point, it was almost silent on Business Continuity. The one advantage to being on the
job for four weeks was she was not the focus of Mr. Presslyâ€™s ire. On the other hand she quickly realized
that she was not knowledgeable enough of the companyâ€™s operations to update this plan without
significant involvement from the various departments in the company.
MailPress Corporation is a mail marketing /web advertising company operating seven different facilities in
four states. The company has over 2000 clients of varying sizes and portfolios. Mail marketing involves
mailing and distribution of advertising as well as promotional products ordered through the mail, television
or Internet. Net income last year exceeded 100 million dollars for the first time in spite of the economic
situation. There are currently about 6200 employees, with 800 headquartered in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Its largest operations are in Canton, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland with 3100 and 1800
employees in each area respectively. The merger with Flair Mail occurred 27 months ago. Although
financial data has been directed to the headquarters datacenter, operational data is still retained at three
locations in Canton, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Each facility is supported by the geographically closest
data center with three in Ohio, two in Maryland and two in Pennsylvania.
Over the past two years the major focus of the IT department has been to standardize the IT infrastructure
and software across the company. Human Resources, Accounting and Payroll have been centralized in
Pittsburgh as have been all of the web server operations. Marketing and Operations have been
standardized but data are unique at each hub location where data centers reside. Select data for the
Corporate MIS is automatically fed from the hubs. Although there were a few hurdles in implementing the
current environment, for the past three months things have been working quite smoothly which probably
in part resulted in Wilsonâ€™s predecessorâ€™s decision to retire. Joan Wilson had been looking to further
consolidate Marketing and Operations before this latest discussion with Mr. Pressly who highlighted a
much more pressing issue, the disaster recovery planning.
At the 2 PM Executive Council Meeting, this became the number one issue on Mr. Presslyâ€™s agenda.
Wilson was asked what she needed to make this happen. Wilson would assign her sharpest project
manager to lead a focus group to update the Companyâ€™s Disaster Recovery Plan and to develop an
effective Business Continuity Plan given the current and projected future operational environment and
needs. She highlighted the need for the executives of each department to assign a knowledgeable expert
to assist in this effort. She made it clear that these individuals will need to be empowered to obtain the
support necessary from their counterparts anywhere in the organization. Mr. Pressly endorsed Wilsonâ€™s
initiative and informed the Council that next monthâ€™s key agenda item would be to review the completed
plan for implementation costs and schedule.
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