Tag Archive for 'CAT'

Technology Traps

The vows of the Indian CAT are far from over. Orkut exposure, further technical glitches etc continue to haunt the IIM mangement. One cannot help remember that we in India still face the first, second and third wave[remember Alvin Toffler’s categories] simultaneously. When the end user may be in the third wave,the source may be in the second wave and the intermediary may still be in the first wave as far as technology readiness is concerned. Let me give my experience of today to illustrate this point. I visited my bank to make a fixed deposit in a joint account with my daughter. What should have taken 5 to 10 minutes normally took more than an hour as the network was very slow .The reason given was it is the first week of the month and usage density is high. Ok. I went there after to draw cash from an ATM belonging to the largest public sector bank in the country. The board outside said “Out of Order”. On the 1st of Dec,another ATM of this bank did not have any cash. It is an irony that this bank has widely advertised asking customers with ATM card NOT to visit any branch for cash withdrawal and instead take cash out from ATM upto Rs 40,000 in a day in 3 transactions. Where is the weak link? cash management, technical failure or logistics break down?. Some one needs to answer for this. My third experience relates to my visit to our Army canteen to buy my monthly needs.The Smart Card issued to me with All India applicability failed to work as there was a bad connection.Besides,the credit card reader was not functioning. In all the three cases,there is no other human interface for a normal redundancy and alternative mode of transaction. So,the customer suffers.This is a routine scenario in the cities everywere in India. Rapid growth in usage volumes has not yet been matched with technology upgrades for the systems backups resulting in such glitches often. It is high time,the CIO’s of such organisations gear up and deliver.

The Indian CAT on a hot tin roof-The great Goof up on 28th Nov

The CAT examination went on line in India for the first time last week end and went off line soon thereafter for almost 20 percent of candiadtes who took this test!

News of this debacle was flashed all over the print and electronic media throughout the country amidst many a heart beats almost stopping. We all know the great frenzy which normally accompanies this premier gateway to IIM’s in the country paving the way for fame and prosperity in the highly competitive corporate world. This anti-climax was a show stopper for the fame and glory of india’s premier family of business schools and the expected “blame game” followed. Server crash, power outage, overloading of system etc .

What actually went wrong? Was it a system failure or process failure? Did someone carry out all the tests including simulated load tests? Where is the weakest link? How do you prevent such shocks to participants in future?. Valid questions needing answers from the authorities.  One cannot help remembering R K Laxman’s famous cartoon in “The Hindu” showing a SLV [satellite launch vehicle] being transported to the launch site in a bullock cart when India launched its first SLV from Sriharikpota[SHAR].

May be the bullock cart metaphor fits the bill here for the power outages – a normal occurence in our country. Let every one learn a lesson from this avoidable public exposure in future and ensure a full due diligence done before LAUNCH.