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IT downtime impacts explored in new research

With the growing reliance on digital business processes in most companies today, the IT department has more responsibility than ever. But, according to new research, businesses are disrupted within the first few minutes of an IT outage and poor communications management means finding the right person to investigate the issue can take as long as, or longer than resolving it.

Forty-five percent of IT professionals reported that their business is impacted if IT is down just 15 minutes or less, and 17 percent said disruption occurs the instant an IT outage develops, according to research by Dimensional Research for a new report, the ‘Business Impact of IT Incident Communications: A Global Survey of IT Professionals.’ The report was commissioned by xMatters, inc.

Significantly, 60 percent of respondents said it takes 15 minutes or more just to identify the right individual to respond to an issue; and nearly half of the IT professionals surveyed said it takes as long as, or longer, to identify the person as it does to resolve the problem.

Showing strong agreement that improved IT alerting systems benefit the business, 91 percent of those surveyed said poor incident communication increases downtime. Eighty-seven percent indicated that guaranteed alert delivery would accelerate issue resolution, and 85 percent said issue resolution would be accelerated by a response system that initiates steps with a single click on a mobile device.

Eighty percent of respondents said loss of digital data would have a more significant effect on the business than loss of buildings, vehicles or goods. This illustrates the extreme importance of IT responsiveness to issues, yet a surprising 41 percent of the IT pros said they have ignored IT alerts and communications.

According to the report, part of the challenge with IT alerts and notifications is that often those notified had personal events that may compromise their responsiveness. A dynamic and automated system that could be updated based on team availability could generate better response by IT professionals, leading to better accountability and faster resolutions and minimised business impact.

In recent years, IT’s role has expanded from basic system support to enabling the business to facilitating online business, while supporting employees’ numerous devices. The IT professionals indicated they are willing to do more. Ninety percent said IT can offer more strategic services to the business; 74 percent indicated IT expertise should be leveraged for other automated systems; and 77 percent acknowledged that the business thinks IT is too slow in resolving key issues.

The report concluded, “Businesses trust IT to keep critical systems running smoothly while securing highly valued data. But, when issues arise business stakeholders overwhelmingly feel that IT isn’t resolving them fast enough. Fast issue remediation will require that the right people be contacted efficiently based on availability and expertise. This may indicate that the communications management alerting systems that have served IT in the past may simply not be able to support IT’s growing role and that a new solution is required.”

The survey polled over 300 IT professionals from the United States, Europe and Mexico. Participant companies came from a mix of sizes – from large enterprises with over 10,000 employees to medium-sized businesses with 1,000 employees – and from a variety of industries, including technology, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and more.

To download the full Business Impact of IT Incident Communications: A Global Survey of IT Professionals report, go to: http://info.xmatters.com/rs/alarmpoint/images/xMatters-2015-Survey-Report.pdf

•Date: 31st March 2015 • Various •Type: Article • Topic:: ICT continuity

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