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NS&I Website Crashes Under High Demand

This morning the UK’s National Savings and Investments (NS&I) website crashed under high demand as pensioners tried to apply for the Government’s eagerly-awaited market-beating pensioner bonds.

Announced in the budget last year the bonds went on sale for the first time today, and despite assurances by the Government that £10bn investment limit would not be reached for months, it appears many pensioners are trying to secure their 65+ Bonds straight away. It looks like the silver suffers may be right as experts are predicting the highly sought-after Bonds could run out in as little as four weeks.
Was the crash predictable?

According to census of 2011, one-in-six people in the UK are of pensionable age – that’s 9.2 million potential customers. The Government must have figures on how many of these 9.2 million have savings, and given that grey-pound is ‘smart’ it would have been reasonable to suggest a large percentage would invest in high-interest bonds. Couple that with its customers being the tech-savvy silver-surfer generation, and the knowledge that the issue was limited, and it is not too hard to predict the large number of online applications that could be expected on the first day.

And as I have said before, it’s not just the front end systems that struggle when such peaks in demand are experienced. Many would-be savers are complaining that the NS&I phones lines are jammed as well.

I am sure the public gets that systems can’t be expected to cope with such extraordinary peaks in demand. Steps should be taken to better understand the system’s performance profile so that stressed-out customers get useful holding information instead of the dreaded ‘webpage is not available’ error.

Posted by:alan
Technical Director, StarBase
Alan has worked for StarBase since 1997. He now has responsibility for identifying and formulating new products, services and solutions; and for evangelising StarBase’s solutions to existing and prospective clients. Alan architected StarBase’s Performance Testing Methodology. In addition to this being the foundation of many successful StarBase client projects, elements have also been adopted by blue chip organisations including companies in the financial sector and leading system integration specialists.

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