A “World Class” Service for the Olympics

The term “World Class” is typically thrown around loosely by Marketing Departments, however the need to exceed customers expectations for the Olympic Games is a given.

At 01:51 the LOCOG (London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) CEO talks about the Customer Experience, how information will be consumed and how it can be enriched through social media.

Technology will improve access to competition information, as it happens, to audiences worldwide across an increasingly complex network of channels for consumption via multiple platforms.

The IT Service Management organisation that is in place to flawlessly deliver information at the Olympics must have a Zero Tolerance [of failure] policy in place and rigorously tested worst case scenarios, such as a large-scale cyber attack.

So let’s take a look at the Service Model.  Atos Origin is the prime service integrator and is responsible for leading a consortium of IT partners to design, build and operate the mission critical IT infrastructure and solutions that support the 2012 Games.  The Olympic Games are a complex mix of technology, processes and people across multiple partners with many varied dependencies.

A Technology Operations Centre has been established in Canary Wharf.  The TOC monitors and controls the IT systems that deliver the results from all the Olympic competitions to the world’s media in real time. For the London Games, Atos expects to process 30% more results data than in Beijing via the Competition Information System and Olympic Data Feed.

CISCO is providing an end to end borderless network infrastructure to make the Olympic Games the most connected sporting event the world has ever seen.

Let’s hope that the huge worldwide customer demand for consumption of live streaming and multimedia over the web can be met by the London Internet Exchange (LINX} which has 10 Points of Presence across London.

The Testing Programme was completed in late 2011 and the “Final Technical Rehearsal  2” will be executed from Feb to Apr.

01:16 – The Technology required for the Olympics is 10 times bigger than for the World Cup because of the number of simultaneous competitions happening at the same time.


The Service Validation and Testing process is described in the above core volume,  pages 150-174.  The purpose of service validation and testing is to ensure that a new or changed IT service is fit for purpose (Utility) and fit for use (Warranty).

“When validating and testing an end-to-end service, the interfaces to suppliers, customers and partners are important”.

By mapping out the service components in an end-to-end chain and defining where the service boundary lies it is possible to clarify and agree ownership responsibility and who needs to be involved in Service Rehearsals.

A Critical Success Factor (Page 174) states that “Providing evidence that the service assets and configurations have been built and implemented correctly in addition to the service delivering what the customer needs.”

In the event of a Major Incident

Atos has a Major Events Unit which has accumulated extensive and valuable know-how through its involvement with the world’s largest sporting events. This knowledge base is not only limited to the technology, Atos has  gathered an in-depth understanding of the processes, risks, people and issues behind an event.  Moreover BT has also mobilised a Major Incident Team for the Olympics.

 Not Even Good Service Management Practice Let Alone World Class

The decision by LOCOG (London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) to suspend the resale of tickets via the Ticketmaster website after problems is a possible portend for the future. The comments by the LOCOG CEO where he stated that “some frustration from prospective purchasers is inevitable” is very disappointing.

Whilst the core infrastructure has been tested and the operational readiness of the Technology Operations Centre has been confirmed, I still envisage that there will be service impacting issues due to insufficient end-to-end service acceptance and readiness testing. 

A comprehensive “End-to-End” Service Rehearsal should be conducted.  This exercise will highlight if there are any bottlenecks in the dissemination of information services to the Customer.    

For example, the Mobile Network Operators must provide assurance that video/data services can be delivered with no delay over the 3G infrastructure. 

Another concern that I have is that the Twitter platform will not be able to cope with volumes at peak event times and there will be a significant delay to the delivery of Tweets.   

Top of my worry list is that on the 05th August a global community will be watching the men’s 100m final and any service issues will be unacceptable and adversely impact the reputation of the IOC.

Let’s see how events unfold…


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