By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @TheCity_Dublin editor, @Irish_TechNews. Image from pixabay

New research commissioned by Veeam has found that unplanned service downtime could result in costs of over 20 million dollars annually for businesses.

Now in its sixth year, the Veeam Availability Report surveyed more than 1,000 senior IT leaders from 24 countries. A majority of those surveyed, 69 percent, said that continuous access to services is a requirement for planned and in progress digital transformation initiatives. They also said that digital transformation initiatives were held back by unplanned downtime caused by cyber-attacks, infrastructure failures, network outages, and natural disasters.

The study suggests a disconnect between user expectations and what IT can deliver, and this is hindering innovation. In fact, 82 percent of enterprises admit to suffering an ‘Availability Gap’ between the demand for uninterrupted access to services and what businesses and IT can deliver. This affects the company’s revenues and digital innovation projects.

While downtime costs vary, the data shows that the average annual cost of downtime for each organisation in this study amounts to 21.8 million dollars, up 16 million dollars from last year’s report.

Downtime and data loss can also affect a business’s reputation. The study shows that almost half of enterprises see a loss of customer confidence, and 40 percent experienced damage to brand integrity, which affect both brand reputation and customer retention.

Downtime issues can also affect the company internally with a third of respondents saying they saw diminished employee confidence as a result. A further 28 percent have experienced a diversion of project resources to ‘clean up’ the mess.

Commenting on the study, Peter McKay, President and COO of Veeam Software said: “Today, immediacy is King and consumers have zero tolerance for downtime, be it of a business application or in their personal lives. Companies are laser-focused on delivering the best user experience and whether they realise it or not, at the heart of this is Availability.

Anything less than 24.7.365 access to data and applications is unacceptable. However, our report states such ubiquitous access is merely a pipedream for many organisations, suggesting new questions need to be asked of transformation plans and a different conversation started about existing infrastructure. Enterprises are facing a major crisis from competitors that are able to offer this uptime and combine that with user experience.”

The report also found that more companies are considering cloud as a viable springboard for their digital agenda, with software as a service investment expected to increase by over 50 percent in the next 12 months. Indeed, over a 40 percent of business leaders believe cloud providers can deliver better service levels for mission-critical data that their internal IT process. Investments in Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) are expected to rise similarly as organisations combine them with cloud.

Veeam commissioned Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a leading IT analyst, research, and strategy company, to develop and execute the survey for this report. ESG conducted an online survey of 1,060 ITDMs from private and public sector organisations with a minimum of 1,000 employees, in 24 different countries, in late 2016. The countries surveyed include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the UAE, UK and the USA.

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