Whether they led to big fines for organizations or caused a lot of frustration and lost productivity for users, IT system and software failures had a big impact across the globe over the past year.
These were the 10 worst IT problems of 2011, according to the consultants at Software Quality Systems (SQS):
1. A financial services firm was fined $25 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission after a software error in an investment model used to manage client assets resulted in investors losing a total of $217 million, which the firm also had to repay.
2. System errors at a Japanese bank resulted in a network of more than 5,600 ATM machines going offline for 24 hours. Additionally, Internet banking services were shut down for three days, resulting in a backlog of more than a million unprocessed payments.
3. Customers of an Australian bank got a nice surprise when 40 ATMs in one city began incorrectly dispensing large sums of money to random users.
4. Core and back-up switch failures at one service provider resulted in millions of people in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America being without email, Internet access or instant messaging services for three to four days — reportedly, all because of server problems at one data center in Slough, England.
5. Facebook began receiving reports of bugs in its iPad application, starting just hours after the long-awaited app was released.
6. Errors in a new computer system allowing courts in New South Wales, Australia, to lodge documents electronically led to the wrongful arrests of 22 innocent people.
7. General Motors was forced to recall more than 50,000 cars due to problems that could have prevented airbags from being deployed during a crash. The issues were traced back to a glitch in GM’s software design and testing approach.
8. Honda had to recall 2.5 million automobiles because of a bug that allowed cars to spontaneously shift out of park or stall out.
9. A software glitch in a New Zealand telecom services provider resulted in 47,000 customers being charged incorrectly for their data usage, leading to a $2.1 million payout by the company.
10. Issues in a $2.7 million cloud computing system installed by the U.S. Army left troops unable to perform simple administrative tasks and hindered intelligence sharing.