As the fifth largest airline in the world, many people were caught up in Southwest Airlines flight cancellations during the busy 2022 holiday season. That issue was further compounded by snow and freezing temperatures nationwide. Yet, other airlines continued to operate under similar conditions and had only minor setbacks. The root of that difference is likely simpler than many people realize.
In an interview with CNN, Captain Casey Murray mentioned that many known IT issues were already happening over the past 20 months. “We’ve seen these sorts of meltdowns occur on a much more regular basis and it really just has to do with outdated processes and outdated IT.” He further elaborated that operations have mostly stayed the same since the 1990s. The issue involved everything from phones and computer systems to programs used to connect with airplanes.
Short-Term Savings Can Lead to Long-Term Costs
Many high-profile technology problems come down to one key factor: money. Southwest airline’s flight cancellations are no exception. IT infrastructure is critical to the function of any company, but it’s often one of the least understood. The IT team isn’t just there to respond to current issues but also proactively prevent future ones from occurring in the first place. Not all executives realize the scope of that role.
Saving money isn’t inherently wrong; all businesses want to avoid wasting funds. A good IT company will help optimize services to get clients more value from less budget. The cost-saving issue stems from not paying for essential technology and upgrades needed to keep things running. Even if there are short-term savings, it can quickly lead to great expenses than if enough had been invested upfront.
At best, having outdated IT infrastructure may cause lower performance, compatibility issues, and employee frustration. In a worst-case scenario, those inefficiencies can snowball and lead to system-wide breakdowns. Failure at such a high level, like with the Southwest Airlines flight cancellations, is costly to fix on short notice and can also have lasting brand damage.
The Importance of Modernized IT
Southwest Airlines was one of many dealing with widespread weather delays. Yet, they represented around 90% of cancellations, with over 2,500 canceled flights on December 28th alone. The second highest was by SkyWest at 77 that same day. Since staff reported IT issues for over a year and no effective solution was provided, the mistake likely happened at a higher level. While a minimal IT budget might please shareholders, that’s not a company’s only responsibility. They also need to communicate when spending is needed to support business functions.
Due to the time and cost involved, many organizations are hesitant to upgrade systems they view as working. Staff may report different issues and concerns, but reports can get ignored if it’s seen as good enough. Finding the right time to upgrade infrastructure isn’t easy, but a planned disruption can always be worked around. An unplanned one cannot and often leads to unexpected problems.
Managed Service Providers like ITonDemand are here to help businesses understand their infrastructure and take control of their IT. It’s never too late to make positive changes to improve productivity and prevent future IT disasters.