Contingency planning

by Gordon on Monday 16th April, 2012

Since 2002, Mozilla, the non-profit organisation that promotes openness, innovation and participation on the internet, has seen its most famous product, the Firefox browser, steadily gain market share against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE).  Firefox now has about half a billion users, a huge number of whom help create the software.

Google pays Mozilla millions of pounds every year to secure a position on Firefox’s default homepage which encourages users to perform a Google search. This is believed to represent about 85% of Mozilla’s entire income.  This would appear to be a high risk strategy.  In the past, Firefox was the only real competitor to IE.  However, with Google’s highly popular Chrome browser on the market, Mozilla has gone from being a Google partner to one of its competitors.  (BBC, 11th April 2012)

This concept of calculating and managing risk is a key aspect of Eurostar’s operations.  As a business that exists solely for its customers, it has set up business continuity programmes to ensure the organisation can not only plan for and respond to potential business interruptions, but wherever possible anticipate them.

By establishing a culture of preparedness and encouraging all colleagues to share information, Eurostar has been able to identify key risk factors and put together documented procedures and policies to alleviate risks and ensure continual service for customers.

In an interview with the BBC, Mozilla Foundation President, Ms Mitchell Baker, said it is important for Mozilla to diversify its income in order to manage risk facors: ‘If for whatever reason the Google deal wasn’t renewed, it would be difficult. We are not currently diversified, revenue wise. With Firefox we have a sustainability model so we can pursue our public benefit goals effectively. It could be a good sustainability model for many years to come, but it’s not good to rely on that.’

In January Mozilla announced Pancake, billed as an effort to re-think the way we navigate and manage ourselves on the web. It offers ideas such as doing away with the URL system (or at least, hiding it from view) and creating a cloud-based framework to carry and manage personal data wherever we go.

Ms Baker added: ‘We’ve always been more than Firefox, but we haven’t talked about it that much.  Fortunately for Mozilla, our stakeholders – we don’t have shareholders – are not looking for a financial return on investment. The return on their time and energy and goodwill that they’re looking for is the product that they like, and an internet that has a layer of user sovereignty in it.’

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