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May 2010

Web applications play their part in defeating the ash cloud

Business continuity plans cover fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and maybe pandemics. But how about volcanoes?

It's time to update your crisis management plan, according to a report by Gartner Inc., since the ash cloud from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano caused an epic disruption in air travel and stranded thousands of people last month.

The first priority is to help stranded employees find alternate transportation, accommodations and workspaces, the report said. And that requires a central system that tracks which employees are in transit.

Technologies such as Skype, mobile devices and Web interfaces to company systems could make it easier for stranded employees to get work done. Telepresence rooms aren't widely available, but it might be possible for an employee to find a videoconference room that can be rented by the hour, the report noted.

Companies also need to figure out how critical work will get done when employees are out. Gartner suggested that a business process management system would help: "It could tell you what work is in progress, what the status is, and who was supposed to do it."

To download the report click here

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