Build Stronger IT Foundations by Learning from Tesco, McDonald's, and Sainsbury's Mistakes

18th March 2024

Well-known food giants have recently experienced technical glitches for a variety of reasons, resulting in a number of operational issues. Notably, McDonald's experienced a significant setback due to a global technology system outage. This disruption, occurring on a Friday, was attributed to a configuration change by a third-party provider, affecting the company's operations across several countries, including the UK, Australia, and Japan.

Similarly, the UK's retail landscape faced its own technological turmoil when both Tesco and Sainsbury's encountered severe technical glitches that hindered their operations. Sainsbury's customers faced difficulties with contactless payments following an overnight software update, severely affecting the supermarket's ability to fulfil online orders and impacting subsidiary Argos's service capabilities. Tesco also had to cancel some online orders due to an unrelated technical issue.

Today, technology underpins nearly every aspect of business operations, and the health of IT infrastructure cannot be overlooked. Outdated or unpatched systems are not just liabilities; they are ticking time bombs waiting to disrupt business operations and inflict financial and reputational damage. The incidents at Sainsbury's and Tesco, where software updates went wrong and led to payment systems failures, and at McDonald's, where a system outage halted order processing, underscore the chaos that can ensue from neglected IT maintenance.

Choose the Right Shield for Your IT Infrastructure.

While the recent technical disruptions at McDonald's, Tesco, and Sainsbury's did not lead to any potential cyberattacks, the incidents spotlighted a crucial aspect of modern business operations: the responsibility resting on the shoulders of those managing IT infrastructure. These events serve as stark reminders of the vulnerability of even the most established companies to technical failures, emphasising that the issue is not just about the systems themselves but also about the expertise behind their management. As we mentioned before, digital operations are foundational to business success, relying on amateur IT teams or inexperienced Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can significantly amplify the risk of operational disruptions. The distinction between a minor technical hiccup and a full-blown operational crisis often lies in the hands of the IT and MSP professionals tasked with managing and safeguarding the technological backbone of a company.

This underscores the essential need for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors to invest in trusted, high-quality MSP providers. An experienced and reliable MSP not only brings expertise in managing and optimising IT infrastructure but also plays a critical role in implementing proactive measures to prevent potential disruptions. In the face of evolving cyber threats and the complex demands of modern IT systems, partnering with a proficient MSP is not merely an option but a necessity. It's a strategic decision that can determine a company's ability to withstand technological challenges and maintain uninterrupted operations.

The Role of Managed Service Providers

The task of keeping IT systems current is daunting, especially for SMEs that might lack the resources and expertise of larger corporations. This is where IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) become invaluable. Whether it involves implementing software updates, designing the architecture of your IT infrastructure, monitoring systems, security patches or resolving IT issues, MSPs are the backbone that supports these essential functions. They offer a comprehensive suite of services that cater to the complex needs of businesses, aiming to ensure that technology serves as a reliable foundation for operations rather than a source of vulnerability. MSPs are not just external support teams; they are strategic partners that help businesses navigate the intricate world of information technology and offload the burdensome task of continuous IT maintenance.

Even large companies, like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and McDonald’s, are using the help of outsourcing to run their global businesses. Using MSP to outsource IT infrastructure brings to light several advantages:

  • Deep Expertise and Adaptability MSPs are 100% focused on delivering high-level IT support and maintenance. Their continuous exposure to diverse IT environments and challenges across industries equips them with a broad and deep expertise that is hard to match by in-house teams. This wealth of knowledge allows MSPs to observe and prepare for technological changes and trends well in advance, ensuring the IT infrastructure they manage remains resilient and cutting-edge.
  • Bespoke Technological Solutions One of the standout benefits of working with MSPs is their ability to tailor technology solutions that precisely fit the needs of your business. They are not just maintainers of your current systems; they are innovators who can recommend and implement new technologies to drive your business forward. This includes overseeing migrations to more efficient systems and providing training to ensure your team is up-to-speed with new technologies, facilitating a smoother transition and quicker adoption.
  • Cost-efficiency and Resource Optimisation Choosing an MSP over an in-house team can lead to significant cost savings. The level of expertise and the breadth of services provided by MSPs come at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a comparable in-house team. Moreover, MSPs operate externally, which means they don't require physical space within your office, further reducing overhead costs. Their services are scalable, allowing you to adjust your expenditure based on your current needs and growth trajectory.
  • Comprehensive IT Infrastructure Assessment MSPs excel in identifying and mitigating gaps within IT infrastructures. Through regular, comprehensive assessments and leveraging insights from past projects, they can ensure your systems are robust and secure. This proactive approach to IT management leaves fewer vulnerabilities compared to maintenance conducted by in-house teams, who may not have the same breadth of experience or access to comparative analytics.
  • Efficiency and Timeliness In the fast-paced world of business, timeliness and the ability to multitask efficiently are invaluable. MSPs have the capacity to deliver on multiple fronts simultaneously, thanks to their teams of specialists and the use of advanced management tools. This capability contrasts with the inherent limitations of in-house teams, who may struggle to juggle multiple critical tasks at the same time due to resource constraints.

Lessons for Small and Medium Enterprises

The IT mishaps experienced by large firms like McDonald's, Sainsbury's, and Tesco carry invaluable lessons for SMEs. If such well-resourced giants can suffer significant disruptions due to IT glitches, smaller businesses with fewer resources are even more vulnerable. This vulnerability underscores the importance of maintaining a vigilant and proactive approach to IT management. SMEs must recognise that neglecting IT maintenance can have dire consequences, potentially stalling operations, alienating customers, and incurring significant financial losses.

Partnering with a reputable MSP is not just an operational necessity; it's a strategic investment in your business's future. At 2&20, we understand the critical role MSPs play in ensuring uptime, security, and business continuity. With our expert guidance and deep market insights, we specialise in connecting businesses with MSP partners that are not just service providers, but true allies in driving technological resilience and success. Trust 2&20 to find you a partner who is as committed to continuously advancing their services as you are to your business success.