Microsoft made a major splash a few years back when they announced that the NFL would be using the Surface tablets on the field and in the locker room for various aspects of team management. Up until now it really only caught the media’s eye briefly when commentators mistakenly identified the Microsoft tablets as Apple iPads, a stinging verdict on the strength of both Microsoft and Apple’s branding. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Surface tablets were correctly identified this time at the recent AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. Unfortunate because the Patriots were experiencing technical difficulties with the devices at a crucial moment in the most important game of the season. As you’d expect, the internet had a field day with this, even though the the technical difficulties were quickly overcome, and the Patriots carried on.
What this means for you:
Rather than taking an easy opportunity to poke fun at Microsoft as you might expect, I’m more interested in making sure everyone grasps the more important lesson here. Even though the Surfaces had become an important part of sideline operations during a game, the Patriots were able to keep moving forward with their critical processes because the Surface tablets weren’t a single point of failure in the complex workflow of team and game management. Are there parts of your business or organization that depend on a single point of technology that, if it failed, would prevent you from executing on critical processes or tasks? Always have a back up plan, both in the literal sense (as in: Back up that data!) as well as the figurative. Important presentation tomorrow that you’ve only stored on a single thumb drive and nowhere else? What would happen if that little thumb drive accidentally fell out of your pocket while you were on the way to the big meeting? When it’s game day, make sure you have more than one way to get the ball into the end zone!