Bigger not Better? Extended Chase Outage

I have a credit card account that has been migrated through bank acquisitions twice (Providian to WAMU, WAMU to Chase). I have no idea what the SLA objective for this Chase operation is, and perhaps the site has been up at times during the night, but an apparent full-shift outage of more than eight hours seems excessive.
  • The timing is unfortunate. Because of tax season, the need for weekend consumer access to transaction detail is higher than usual

  • If there was any notification, it was not through email, a channel that generally survives outages (Comcast's reported outages yesterday notwithstanding)

  • The outage comes at a time when WAMU customers are just beginning their experiences with Chase
If the outage is as long as it appears to have been, I would not certainly not accept this SLA as an IT manager for a world class bank that has been given preferential treatment during the bailout. But, speaking as a pragmatic customer, ordinarily, a one-shift outage is manageable. Planned outages should be accompanied by email notifications. I could live with that, though I'd be grumbling.

Investors and pundits seem to accept as gospel that consolidation leads to economy of scale, which leads to better service per unit cost to consumers and businesses. There are many reasons to question that. Normally I would point to deteriorated customer service as the principal indicator of Company size, but perhaps there are technology deficits as well. Entrenched IT enclaves may be less likely to demand SLA improvements during periods of consolidation and service coverage expansion.

For example, the Chase system stores much less transaction data online than did WAMU. Is it unreasonable in today's world of 7GB Gmail, unlimited Yahoo email, and unlimited Godaddy website disk space, to ask for a couple of years' detail online? Rather than telling WAMU customers that they would be upgrading their systems to match WAMU's online level, instead WAMU customers were merely told to download their data before the consolidation.

The consolidator's mandate --backed by investors and managers willing to accept the nonproductive capital consumed during many consolidations -- Do More With Less, seems to mean unapologetically telling customers to accept less.

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