Myer website crash due to 'communication breakdown': IBM

Myer website crash due to 'communication breakdown': IBM

Summary: A breakdown within its servers and software applications brought down the website of major Australian retailer Myer during the Christmas period.

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TOPICS: IBM, Outage, Australia
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The website of major Australian retailer Myer was brought down for over a week during the post-Christmas sales due to a "communication breakdown".

"An IBM team of local and global experts worked around the clock with Myer to resolve the issue with its online store. The technical issue was caused by a communication breakdown between internet servers and a software application," an IBM spokesperson told ZDNet on Monday.

"IBM and Myer will work together to conduct a thorough review to ensure this issue does not reoccur. IBM is committed to supporting Myer to continue to provide high-quality service to its customers."

After advertising "Australia's biggest stocktake sale" in the lead up to Boxing Day, visitors to its website on December 26 discovered that the website had been taken down, with the company saying on its Facebook page that it was "experiencing some technical difficulties" on its site.

It wasn't until January 2, a full week later, that the website was back up and running. The retail giant said it would be monitoring the site and offering free shipping as compensation for failing to fulfil its advertised availability during the Christmas period.

However, many customers have continued to be unable to shop online, with Myer stating as late as Sunday that people were "still experiencing difficulties with the site".

Despite this, Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes told The Australian (paywall) last week that he is thankful for IBM's work on restoring the website.

"IBM have been exceptional in how they've acted throughout this. We wouldn't expect any compensation from IBM; we're not pursuing them, we're thanking them," Brookes said.  "It's frustrating and it's irritating, but it's only been down for a week out of five years"

Brookes placed the monetary loss on the sales at "less than 1 percent of our business, which translates to AU$31 million".

Brookes added today that since bringing the website back online, the company has been getting around "3,000 shoppers at any one time".

Myer first outsourced its IT operations to IBM in a five-year deal of an undisclosed value in 2006.

Topics: IBM, Outage, Australia

Corinne Reichert

About Corinne Reichert

Corinne is sub-editor across all CBS Interactive sites, and joined the company after completing her degrees in Communications and Law, and undertaking a string of internships in law and journalism. Corinne is also a journalist for ZDNet.

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4 comments
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  • Service providers

    One can only hope that "IBM is committed to supporting Myer to continue to provide high-quality service to its customers." doesn't mean another weeks outage when Meyer needs high capacity and throughput for it's next online sale. Although the actual financial loss is low, it's the consumer confidence in Myers ability to attract online buyers that has suffered the biggest damage. The thousands of consumers visiting the site would now not venture there again in anger!
    simmi@...
  • Myer still dont get it!

    "Brookes placed the monetary loss on the sales at "less than 1 percent of our business"

    Everything the Myer leadership state indicates they still dont get internet sales & how important it will be to their business. They almost sound like its an inconvenience to them & they firmly believe their core business is traditional shop fronts.
    I believe Myer will be gone in 5 years - they dont appear to be interested in moving with technology & developing the business
    Flash6969
    • hmmm....

      Myer do get it, Myer is a bricks & mortar store at present.

      This Christmas, bricks & mortar sales were in the vicinity of 5+billion, online Christmas sales represented 300+million.
      That represents less than 10% of all Christmas sales. So when Myer comes out and says the glitch had an impact on overall sales "less than 1 percent", they are probably spot on.

      Myer announced just before Christmas an 8% reduction in profit for the year, they wrote it back to "127MILLION"

      If Myer wanted to rewrite the book on online sales they very well could, however; no need as it is such a small segment in terms of the overall retail sector.

      Online shopping has a loooong way to go before it becomes a legit threat to retail kingpins such as Myer, David Jones, Zara etc.

      My two cents worth, for online retails to skip into the 1 billion dollar club during the Christmas spend season money needs to be spent on the supply chain/logistic network not the actual ecommerce site.

      Myer certainly wont be "gone" in 5 years but if the trend moves to online in a legitimate sense then you will see a kingpin retail store become a kingpin online store. If this is the case lookout ecommerce entrepreneurs because they wont know what him them.
      nateMN
  • IBM - Indian Business Machines

    when will companies learn that outsourcing IT to companies like IBM who palm the work offshore to India = poor service.

    just speak to the workers and end users at the major banks to see how poor the service and standards have become.
    trevagreene