How to Minimize IT Downtime / Actual Cost

In a recent article, we outlined some reasons for IT downtime. With the causes of downtime now understood, the questions you must ask yourself are:

  • Where do I start?
  • How do I address each issue?
  • How do I get everyone’s attention and make this a priority?

First, let’s get everyone’s attention — the best way to do so is with actual numbers. For example, let’s use an organization that has 100 employees, 25% of which are in a management role.

Here are some studies showing how much time is lost every day due to IT downtime:

  • Average IT Downtime: According to a new survey of U.S. office workers, professionals waste 22 minutes each day, on average, dealing with IT-related issues.
  • Average Time To Get Back On Task After An Interruption: A recent study indicated that most people take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from an interruption.

To be fair, let’s assume that your organization is more effective than those in the examples above. You encounter less downtime, it takes you less time to get back on task, and all of this happens less often. For the sake of argument, we’ll use 19 minutes a day for average downtime and 10 minutes to get back on task, totaling 29 minutes.

Employee IT Downtime Cost:

  • 29 minutes x 5 days week x 52 weeks x 100 employees = 754,000 minutes = 12,566 hours
  • $20 avg per hour x 75% of total hours down =9,424 = $188,480
  • Benefits/Training 20% additional cost: $37,696

Management IT Downtime Cost:

  • $26 avg per hour x 25% of total hours down=3,142 = $81,692
  • Benefits/Training 20% additional cost: $16,338
  • Total Downtime Cost to Organization: $324,206

What Problems Do You Need To Solve To Limit Downtime?

  • Outdated Technology: Outdated hardware and software often lead to compatibility problems, slowing processes, and loss of data. Cutting corners, or looking for the lowest cost solution, will actually cost more minutes on a daily basis, which adds up to more hours each week and much more money wasted each year.  That’s why you need to carefully consider the ROI you get on newer, properly functioning, and effectively supported technology. You’re not just paying for new hardware — you’re paying to avoid downtime.
  • Inefficient Processes: If you don’t have a strategy for your IT, you’re going to encounter problems. Without a plan, your processes and communication channels will of course increase downtime. You need to start by sitting down with all the key players and gathering information from your peers, OACB, and your IT providers, which will enable you to develop your own action plan to promote efficiencies.
  • Human Error: A survey of more than 800 customers worldwide found that 59% of respondents cited human error as the top cause of unplanned downtime. Supporting your IT is one thing; supporting your users is another. Here are a few steps you can take to develop more control and make better decisions:
  • Document your IT issues, tickets, write-ups, downtime, or data breaches: Look for trends, which will give you insight as to what might be an issue to address.
  • Communication with your IT provider should be ongoing: Make sure to meet on a quarterly basis to go over projects, IT budgeting, and other concerns.
  • Make sure to have your IT network assessed by a reliable third party: Find vulnerabilities and inefficiencies.
  • Security Issues And Disasters: Now more than ever, cyber-attacks are a daily priority and concern. With more of us working from home and/or remotely we have become more vulnerable to cybercriminals that take advantage of any vulnerabilities. Here are a few steps you can take to develop a more secure environment:
  • Plan and budget for the best hardware and software so that your data is protected: Redundancy in your storage is critical and having a disaster recovery plan can’t be overlooked:
  • Implement a cybersecurity training regimen: Your staff is the first line in defense for protecting your organization. Make sure to educate your staff on which emails are not safe to open, how to identify scams, and how to protect your organization.

How Much Is Downtime Costing You?

Use this worksheet to run your own numbers and determine what IT downtime is costing you:

1. Employee IT Downtime Cost

downtime hours:

x 29 minutes x 5 days week x 52 weeks = Downtime Hours

salary:

x 75% of total hours down = Downtime Hours = Salary Cost
Benefits/Training 20% additional cost: Additional Benefits/Training Cost Lost

2. management IT Downtime Cost

salary:

x 25% of total hours down = Downtime Hours = Salary Cost
Benefits/Training 20% additional cost: Additional Benefits/Training Cost Lost
Total Downtime Cost to Organization:
$$$