UK-wide IT system outage for the Post Office stops business earlier this month

The core IT system which is the backbone of the UK Post Office branches unexplainably went offline earlier this month, on November 5th.

The system known as Horizon is the central retail and accounting system for the Post Office. Embarrassingly, Post Office branches across the UK became unable to do business. Post Office workers and postmasters were interrupted with an outage that lasted 90 minutes, causing delay to members of the public and other businesses reliant on the service.

Amanda Jones, the Group Retails and Franchise Network Director for the Post Office provided a vague explanation for the outage, sighting a “memory issue with devices” was the cause of the outage.

Little else is known about the issue, however this is not the first time the Horizon system has been in the press. The system originally cost £1 billion, being delivered by Fujitsu in 1995. Problems and investigations have plagued the system and its performance over the years, with an independent inquiry reporting that in some cases it is “not fit for purpose”.

For the Post Office this latest outage comes at a busy time of the year as they prepare to ramp up business for the festive season. With the pressure of the unpredictable effects of Covid on volumes and business, monitoring system performance and uptime will be critical in making sure the busy month ahead goes well.

If you want to talk about the proactive monitoring of your IT equipment, networks and systems, to safe-guard vital systems in your organisation, call us to discuss how Fundamentals First can help.

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