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With all the recent news about IT and cloud failures, it’s no surprise to see new research (and sales pitches) coming out about the effect of such failures on affected companies’ bottom lines, customers and employees. An interesting study from software vendor CA Technologies, which gathered data about the effects IT system failures have on personnel from 2,000 North American and European organizations, came across our news-feed the other day. Findings included:

  • Businesses collectively lose more than 127 million person-hours annually—or an average of 545 person-hours per company—in employee productivity due to IT downtime.
  • Each business suffers an average of 14 hours of downtime per year, during which employees are only able to work at 63-percent of their usual productivity.
  • After systems are back up and running, organizations lose an average of nine additional hours per year to the time it takes to recover data. During these times, employee productivity only climbs to 70-percent.

Yet the study also shows that companies are still slow to address the inevitable ramifications of an IT failure with a protection strategy. Indeed, “56-percent of organizations in North America and 30-percent in Europe don’t have a formal and comprehensive disaster recovery policy,” yet 50-percent of organizations said IT outages damage their reputation, 44-percent believe IT downtime damages staff morale, and 35-percent said it can adversely impact customer loyalty.

So why the disconnect? Why do organizations recognize the great damage IT failure can wreak yet fail to take proactive steps to prepare for it? Perhaps it is the same “it won’t happen to me” gamble we all take when participating in risky behavior — from smoking a cigarette to speeding down the highway to swimming in the ocean. Or perhaps it’s a lack of resources or a lack of initiative or a lack of knowledge about how to even begin to address the issue that contributes to this troubling inaction. Regardless, our advice to organizations struggling with their IT failure strategies is the same as our advice to organizations about to embark on any major IT project (including ERP implementations): focus on the aspects that protect and serve your business. Communicate with your staff so that they know what to do (and what’s expected of them) in the event of a failure. Plan, prepare and execute. And don’t forget to develop schemes for both disaster recovery and business continuity; one can’t exist without the other.

Read more about our ERP and IT services and how we can help your company develop an IT strategy to address both successes and failures.