TelstraSuper: Seamlessly recovering operations after a disasterFind out how TelstraSuper was able to successfully resume operations of its core business functions after a flood struck their offices, leaving them unusable.
TelstraSuper Pty Ltd was established in June 1990, as a subsidiary of Telstra Corporation Limited.
Today, TelstraSuper is Australia’s largest corporate super fund managing about $23 billion in funds invested on behalf its members.
- Reduced downtime with a seamless execution of business continuity plan
- Flexible solutions, including creating a longer-term office space for employees
- Refined documentation and testing procedures to prepare for future disasters
- Increased board engagement in business continuity and disaster recovery planning
A burst water pipe drowning business operations
One morning at 6:30 AM AEST, TelstraSuper found their disaster recovery plan needed to be put into action after discovering internal office flooding due to a burst water pipe which affected 90% of the office’s capacity.
“The situation we walked in to can only be described as ‘heavy rain in the office’ – the water was coming down from the ninth floor to the two lower levels, dripping on to desks and risking hardware damage along with a litany of other OH&S issues – for both returning to work and also just being on-site to manage the issue as it unfolded.”
Once the main water supply had been successfully switched off, the damage was assessed, and it was significant. After a disaster, it is TelstraSuper’s policy that the office be regularly monitored and evaluated prior to work resuming. OH&S declared the office an unfit environment for work due to the dust, noise and heat generated from fans attempting to dry the space.
Declaring a disaster can be seamless
Within two hours of discovering the flood, the disaster recovery plan was underway – with management declaring the disaster and nominating the core business functions to resume operations at Interactive.
TelstraSuper’s customer service function was most affected, with the team usually taking more than 40 calls an hour. The morning of the incident was managed by diverting the call centre’s enquiries to the Sydney office, before the six call centre team members took their seats at Interactive, seamlessly transitioning to continue their day-to-day business operations.
The damage turned out to be more significant than the company first thought and TelstraSuper employees understood their stay at their disaster recovery site was going to be longer than anticipated. Interactive was able to scale up their solution for Telstra Super, creating a flexible solution and providing additional seating for staff to aid the smooth continuity of the business operating offsite.
TelstraSuper was able to make excellent use of the facilities at Interactive, including the meeting rooms, theatre and common areas. A training course previously planned for Telstra Super team members during the time of the disaster proceeded as planned, with the training supplier holding the sessions in Interactive.
Increasing stakeholder engagement and company preparedness
At the time of the disaster, there was a need to improve the ownership of the disaster recovery function at TesltraSuper, including enhancing the documentation and policies.
TelstraSuper worked with Interactive to refine their documentation through on-site business continuity plan (BCP) simulations testing preparedness and business unit reactions in event of a disaster. These simulations included an assessment of how many seats at Interactive would be required to uphold business-as-usual operations, as well as bringing different teams on-site to test their own individual department functions. As a result of regular disaster recovery mapping and testing, team leaders were far more engaged with the business continuity program, taking leadership of their own team’s requirements to maintain business-as-usual functionality should a disaster affect business operations.
As a result of regular business continuity mapping and testing, team leaders were far more engaged with the business continuity program, taking leadership of their own team’s requirements to maintain business-as-usual functionality should a disaster affect business operations.
“Our team members and senior management saw real benefit from spending time at Interactive during this incident. They experienced firsthand the importance of a partner that could scale up to meet our changing needs and how in the event of a disaster without proper planning, our business could cease to function and the cost associated with this shutdown.”
Muir believes the management of this incident has increased the recognition and understanding of TelstraSuper’s disaster recovery plans across the board, seeing the value in preparing for the unexpected.