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Business downtime: how much does it cost you?

ByDave Stopher

Dec 12, 2017 #Datawright

Prioritising productivity and minimising lost time is high on the agenda for any business. Despite this, many overlook just how costly business downtime can be. Shining a light on the real cost of business downtime is ERP software provider, Datawright:

An overview of business downtime

According to reports, 552 man hours are lost through issues with IT and technology each year in Europe. Reportedly, this results in a 37% drop in revenue generation, as the critical tools for business success are made unavailable.

While the downtime will invariably lead to lost sales and productivity, the scale of the impact can vary from sector to sector. 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.

Let’s take manufacturing as an example. Taking the average UK manufacturing salary of £29,419, the average hourly rate based on a 40-hour week is £15.32. 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.

Employers must also consider the loss in potential revenue this downtime could cause. 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.

Identifying the causes and preventing business downtime

Before you can take any steps to combatting business downtime, it’s essential to first understand what the causes are. 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 how can you tackle the threats?

Update your software

Although it’s one of the most common causes of downtime, software failure is often one of the easiest to protect against. Make sure you install all available updates for your software to ensure it can continue performing optimally, minimising the risk of failure.

Don’t neglect the age of your software system either. 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.

Train your staff

It’s impossible to completely eradicate human error, yet ensuring all of your staff are fully trained can help. Ensure that all employees are fully aware how to use the technology and software they require for their role to prevent against issues like this from arising.

Maintain hardware

With prolonged use, hardware can fall victim to general wear and tear. 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.

In this scenario, you could benefit from predictive and preventative maintenance, which work to pre-empt an issue arising before it actually does.

By increasing your awareness of the wider implications of business downtime, you can regain control over the impact it can have on your business.