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Blackberry Service Disruptions Continue for Third Day

Millions of Blackberry users across Europe and the Middle East were left without email, web browsing and messaging services following a disruption to the network infrastructure on Monday morning.  The makers of Blackberry, RIM, announced on Tuesday that all services were operating normally again, and apologised for the inconvenience, but problems have persisted for many users and have now spread to the US as well.

A lot of the media coverage of the incident expresses shock and outrage at the scale of the outage and the slowness of RIM’s response but, in fact, this story simply exemplifies 3 recurring themes in Crisis Management:

  • We underestimate the potential for wide-scale disruption (it’s only last month that a problem at a single sub-station escalated to leave 5 million people in the US and Mexico without electricity);
  • Recovering from a business disruption generally takes longer than expected (like wars and large construction projects); and
  • Effective communication with stakeholders is essential in a crisis, but usually lacking.

Interestingly, despite all the adverse media coverage and dire predictions about the future of the Blackberry, RIM’s share price has hardly moved over the last two days.