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    Barnett Waddingham
  • GUEST BLOG: How damaging is business downtime?

    Business Downtime

    Unfortunately, software and technologies can unexpectedly fail in a business and this can disturb the work flow and the amount of revenue that can be made. Given our growing technological dependence, one minor misconfiguration or full-scale system failure can lead to significantly reduced productivity — or worse still, complete business shutdown.

    Of course, preventing this downtime should be high on the business agenda but with other objectives to meet as well, can it get forgotten about?

    Datawright, a manufacturing software provider, has explored the significance of business downtime and the cost implications it can have below:

    A look at the statistics

    Research showed that 552 man hours are lost in Europe every year as a result of IT problems. Reportedly, this downtime results in a 37% drop in revenue generation, as the critical tools for business success are made unavailable.

    Business downtime can have different effects on different sectors as some are more reliant on IT than others. A number of factors can influence this including the number of staff affected, the impact on productivity, how long the downtime lasts for and the cost per employee, per hour.

    Consider the following case study to put the impact of downtime into perspective: A UK manufacturer has an average annual wage of £29,419 or £15.32 per hour based on a 40-hour working week. Should downtime strike the factory floor, preventing 50 members of staff from doing 50% of their job for five hours, the business would face a loss of £1,915 for just one incident. As the scale of the downtime increases, so does the associated loss, causing a major impact on profits.

    In addition to the loss in salaries, revenue loss can also occur. If IT systems fail, for example, you could lose out on future sales as a result of unhappy customers. Regardless of sector, this is something all business will need to avoid if they are to continue their success.

    Can downtime be prevented?

    By exploring what issues are causing downtime and addressing them, you can find the root of the problem and attempt to fix it. Studies have been carried out to establish the most common causes, although results can vary wildly. The overall causes of business downtime include hardware and software failure, human error, the weather and natural disasters, and power cuts.

    So, what is the best way to tackle the problem?

    Updating software

    To prevent software failure, an important thing to monitor is whether it needs updating or not. Clicking ‘remind me later’ will no longer cut it. Make sure you install all available updates for your software to ensure it can continue performing optimally, minimising the risk of failure.

    Systems that are out of date are more likely to fail. As cyber threats continue to evolve and materialise, older systems that may not have the required security capacity become obvious targets. Review your software at timely intervals to ensure it remains fit for purpose and relevant.

    Refreshing hardware

    If you notice a drop in your hardware’s performance and efficiency it’s possible that it needs to be refreshed. Some industries will experience this more than others — for example, in manufacturing, machines and presses will require regular maintenance to ensure they remain functional and efficient.

    By implementing predictive and preventative maintenance, these problems can be discovered before they cause an issue.

    Training

    Training staff alongside business processes and software can help prevent issues. Teach them how to update software if it is doable by an employee and show them how they can recognise out of date technologies.

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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