Intrum Justitia believes good preparation for a disaster is essential:

‘Your surroundings may also be a reason for having to recover elsewhere’

It wasn’t a fire nor a fault with the electrics, but the presence of President Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit which temporarily prohibited Intrum Justitia from using its offices. According to ICT Director Juan Botha, it was the first time the company had actually needed to activate a recovery for 100 people. ‘Due to the nature of our business we were already aware of the fact that a recovery location had to be available and operational at all times. The situation as a result of the Nuclear Security Summit only reinforced the awareness amongst all of us.’

Intrum Justitia is an internationally listed credit management organisation with its head office in Sweden. The company was founded in 1923, it employs approximately 3300 staff in 20 countries and serves a wide range of clients: from small businesses to major international players operating in both the B2B and B2C sectors.

The Intrum Justitia offices are located close to the Catshuis, the Eurojust and Europol offices and many embassies, European security agencies and the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). Juan: ‘When Obama came here, the entire area was cordoned off and we were unable to reach our offices. No one could go in or out. During those days, we recovered to a different location as we were not working with COIN at that time. Shutting down was not – and is not – an option because our clients expect us to provide our services continuously. We employ 200 people here, 100 of which we had to recover to an alternative location, allowing our call centre – an essential part of our service – to continue as usual.’

One of our core values is that we are a catalyst for a healthy economy. We help our clients improve their operating results. Everyone benefits from that, both the company and society as a whole. Our clients are able to focus on their core business and we do what we do best: manage the entire ‘Order to Cash´ process. Another important core value for us is Understanding People. There’s always a reason why a person is unable to pay. It’s not just about collecting money. It’s just as much about the person or the company for whom we want to find a solution. It is that core value specifically that we recognised in COIN, with whom we’ve being doing business for more than a year now. The people there provide more than just replacement office space.

The Intrum Justitia offices are like any other offices, but security is high. Juan: ‘We don’t handle cash, since the digital world we live in makes just about anything possible. We also operate an independent complaints process, so there’s no need for clients to come to our offices. As stated, the uptime of our systems and the availability of our call centre are the most important aspects for us, and that’s what COIN guarantees us. Our servers are located externally and our technical people are based there as well. Coincidentally our IT-location is close to COIN’s head office and that’s how we came into contact with each other.’

Intrum Justitia has always had a recovery location available but it wants and expects more than ‘just that’. Juan: ‘Our Board wants us to be able to continue working seamlessly from another location in the event of a disaster, whatever may happen. We test that systematically and we are audited on that annually by our head office.’

High expectations and a very competitive price-quality ratio resulted in Intrum Justitia signing a contract with COIN more than a year ago. Juan: ‘What really pleases me about COIN is that they approach us directly to regularly check that the recovery solution is working. It’s not just a case of, ‘this is our service, do what you want with it’. The team is very proactive which in turn encourages us to keep our recovery information and COIN up to date with the latest changes. There are guidelines in place. COIN monitors the planning and contacts us when it’s time for testing. They provide custom solutions that we can also scale up if needed.’

In response to the question about what Juan would recommend to business colleagues about the benefits of a customised recovery location, he replies: ‘You always have to ask yourself what it would cost if you were no longer able to use your premises, if you were unable to be up and running elsewhere immediately in the event of a disaster. Those costs are many times higher than COIN’s subscription fees. It’s not just about damage to your own brand, but to the reputation of your clients as well, who expect continuity from you as a supplier. And don’t just think about a disaster such as a fire. Take a good look around at your neighbouring businesses and the risks that they impose on you.’

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