Zero Outage: outstanding IT quality for your business
As a cloud computing pioneer, T-Systems is committed to a Zero Outage strategy, implementing a quality assurance program by the same name in 2011. The goal is to minimize downtime and maximize business continuity. The Zero Outage initiative is certified by TÜV Rheinland* and comprises activities and mechanisms at all levels. This includes state-of-the-art platforms, clearly defined, consistent processes with rapid time-to-recovery, and specially trained staff – as it takes the holy trinity of platforms, processes and people to ensure stable, secure ICT. In fact, T-Systems has more than 600 quality assurance managers worldwide, and provides certified quality assurance training to over 21,000 in-house IT professionals annually, through the company’s dedicated „Quality Academy”.
Systematic risk management
A key first step within the Zero Outage program was to identify approximately 300 risks, to group them into 40 clusters, and to define a plan of action for each. This resulted in guides and instructions for a variety of scenarios, for example for defective system components, for network, power and VoIP outages, and for incidents during planned changes. These resources form the basis for T-Systems’ robust IT quality management: each risk category is precisely monitored, and any action taken is reviewed and procedures refined. As a result, T-Systems has achieved exceptional IT uptime (99.999 percent). And this is reflected in the company‘s customer satisfaction rating, as recorded by the annual TRI*M survey conducted by TNS Infratest: for the third year in succession, T-Systems secured exceptionally high scores for customer satisfaction, placing it amongst the top ten percent of European ICT providers.
*TÜV Rheinland ist an independent German provider of technical services for testing, inspection, certification.
"Zero Outage focuses sustainably on eliminating downtime, giving the customer peace of mind.”
Michael Weppler, Executive Vice President of Systems at TÜV Rheinland
At the heart of quality assurance is prevention. With this in mind, Deutsche Telekom employs more than 1,200 security experts, operates cyber emergency response teams (CERTs) for the identification and assessment of potential threats, and deploys state-of-the-art technologies. Together, these elements help realize the Zero Outage vision by avoiding downtime and thwarting cyber attacks. T-Systems’ twin-core data centers are amongst the most advanced of their kind anywhere in Germany, comprising two facilities of identical design – reinforced by redundant network connections and encrypted data transmission via VPN. Further security mechanisms include identity and access management, intrusion detection and prevention, firewalls, anti-malware and secure point-to-point connections within an MPLS network. Moreover, there are robust physical safeguards – such as strict access control and surveillance equipment. In other words, T-Systems customers can be sure of excellent, truly end-to-end security.
Manager-on-duty concept for 24/7 responsiveness
Despite all preventive efforts, there is no such thing as completely failsafe ICT. And when a component or system goes offline, responsiveness is essential. Consequently, effective incident management is an inherent part of Zero Outage. This includes a seamless chain of communication, clearly defined escalation levels, and a global 24/7 manager-on-duty service. This ensures that a representative of the company’s senior management, together with a dedicated team of experts, is always on standby for critical incidents. He is directly involved in problem resolution, coordinating and overseeing all activities. Worldwide, some 140 executives participate in the rolling manager-on-duty program, ensuring that any crisis will receive the immediate attention of a senior decision maker.
To safeguard quality and reliability at all levels, T-Systems collaborates with carefully selected suppliers and partners who share the same high quality standards – as they are key elements of the value chain in terms of service and solution delivery, and incident resolution. In fact, the direct involvement of the corresponding supplier or vendor is vital to rapid remediation, effective root cause analysis, and permanent eradication of the underlying problem. For this reason, T-System extended Zero Outage to partners and suppliers in 2013. Around 25 top global suppliers and more than 60 access providers are already certified to the program. Every year, more than 500 unannounced fire drills take place – to verify compliance with the agreed quality of service at T-Systems and at partner organizations, under real-world conditions.