Profit Parasite #5: Silent System Failure

Written by

Malachi Bazar

Published on


Failure is often loud. In fact, when businesses or individuals fail, it quickly impacts those around them and draws attention. 

When systems fail, it’s best when they fail loudly. Although loud failures cause disruption, their prominence often makes the issues that caused them easier to identify, making repairing them more manageable. 

This brings us to profit parasite #5: silent system failure. 

The unique challenge of silent system failures

Out of all the profit parasites we’ve covered so far, this one is by far the most insidious. Why? Because companies are essentially collections of systems working together to deliver a product or service. This means this parasite isn’t relegated to one specific area of the business; it can occur anywhere.

And if these systems fail silently, they can silently undercut profits for months, even years, leaving businesses scrambling to find the culprit. It becomes like searching for an unknown number of needles in an unknown number of haystacks.

Some examples of silent system failures:

  • A recurring payment system fails but doesn’t correctly trigger a pause in the corresponding subscription.
  • Support requests from one source use a deprecated API and no longer place tickets in the support queue. 
  • Mileage tracking software is missing a required permission, and deductions or reimbursements are lost.

Before we discuss symptoms and solutions, it’s important to understand the types of systems that exist in a business so you know what to look for.

Types of systems

All businesses are composed of multiple systems. Understanding the different types of systems commonly found in businesses and how they work can help you identify and prevent failures before they happen. 

Technology systems

Technology systems are made up of two primary components: hardware and software. 

Hardware includes tools such as computers, printers, and servers. When hardware fails, it can be pretty obvious because the tool is no longer able to be used or shows signs of decreased efficiency.

Software includes tools such as operating systems, apps, and web browsers. When software fails, it can be a little less noticeable. Software needs to be constantly updated and monitored to avoid problematic failures. 

Financial systems

Financial systems are made up of accounting, profits, payroll, and more. If one of these systems fails, your business could face huge revenue loss and unexplained profit drains. 

Human systems

Systems such as customer support, management, and decision-making make up human systems in your business. 

When human systems fail, it’s often a result of another system in your business not performing as intended. 


Standard operating procedures (SOPs), manual processes, and automation determine how your business works. If one of these processes fails, your business could face inefficiencies and setbacks. 

Communications systems

Communications systems in your business can be divided into four main categories: internal, external, synchronous, and asynchronous. 

If a communications system fails, it might lead to decreased efficiency across the business, miscommunication with business partners, and decreased customer satisfaction. 

Identifying and Resolving the Symptoms of a Silent Failure

The possibility of failure exists within every system. Knowing when a system fails, even when it’s not obvious, is the key to avoiding profit drains. Even better is knowing in advance when the system will fail or be outgrown. Identifying the common symptoms can help you locate issues in your company (that you may not even know exist) and remedy them. 

Here are a few symptoms your business might experience if a silent system failure occurs and how to resolve them. 

Unexplained revenue drops

How to identify:

  1. Customers are no longer being billed (or continue being billed), while subscription services aren’t being paused or canceled correspondingly. 
  2. Recurring revenue streams seem stable, but customers become dissatisfied, leading to the cancellation of services. 

How to resolve:

  1. Create a custom line chart to track recurring revenue trends over time to identify sudden drops. 
  2. Create a custom bar chart to compare subscription pauses against billing to spot discrepancies. 

Increased support requests with no resolution

How to identify:

  1. Support tickers aren’t logged into the support queue, increasing customer dissatisfaction. 
  2. The support team may notice increased customer complaints and dissatisfaction without corresponding tickets in the system. 

How to resolve: 

  1. Create a custom table widget to list all support requests and their statuses to ensure none are missed. 
  2. Use a custom Resplendent dashboard to display total unresolved tickets to monitor backlog. 

Financial discrepancies in milage or expense reporting

How to identify:

  1. Lost reimbursements or incorrect tax deductions occur when mileage tracking fails to record trips accurately due to missing permissions. 
  2. Employees or departments may report discrepancies in their expense reimbursements, leading to internal confusion and potential financial loss. 

How to resolve:

  1. Create a custom line chart to track mileage reimbursements over time to detect missing entries. 
  2. Create a custom table widget to detail individual mileage entries to ensure completeness. 

Delayed detection

How to identify:

  1. When system problems remain undetected it has negative impacts on business operations and customer satisfaction, leading to decreased customer retention and operational inefficiencies. 
  2. Issues with systems go undetected until regular audits or checks reveal the discrepancies, causing confusion where the issues started. 

How to resolve

  1. Use custom Resplendent dashboards to show a pie chart that visualizes the proportion of issues by source type to identify neglected areas. 
  2. Use custom Resplendent dashboards to show the average time to detect issues to monitor improvements.

Customer churn

How to identify:

  1. Higher than usual customer churn due to unresolved issues and poor service experiences. 
  2. Customers leave negative reviews or social media posts about unaddressed service problems and lack of support. 

How to resolve:

  1. Create a custom line chart to analyze churn rate trends over time. 
  2. Create a custom bar chart to break down churn by reason to identify customer issues. 

Operational inefficiencies 

How to identify:

  1. Missing tickets decrease the support team’s efficiency, leading to longer resolution times and a larger workload. 
  2. Missing or inaccurate mileage data causes the financial team’s efficiency to drop.

How to resolve:

  1. Create a custom bar chart to track support resolution times by agent to identify bottlenecks. 
  2. Use custom Resplendent dashboards to display the average resolution time to ensure it meets targets.

Trust and reputation damage

How to identify:

  1. Customer trust declines due to consistent failure to address service and support issues. 
  2. Brand reputation takes a hit as more customers experience and share their negative experiences. 

How to resolve:

  1. Create a custom line chart to monitor customer satisfaction scores over time. 
  2. Create a custom pie chart to break down feedback by category to address specific concerns. 

Incorporating Data Visualization

Connecting data across your business transforms your business intelligence into something visual and actionable. With entirely visual data presentation, customizable dashboards, and connected data streams, data visualization tools like Resplendent help you identify, eliminate, and prevent profit parasites like these. 

If you’re ready to see how magical your data can be, schedule a demo with us today and take the first step towards eradicating profit parasites from your business. 

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