“Unplanned downtime”. If you’re looking to rile up IT admins or send tech experts into a cold sweat, there are few better phrases. It makes sense — according to recent research from Veeam, enterprises are losing $21.8 million per year on average in downtime and 87 percent expect an increase to future downtime costs. The data raises a critical question: How can companies solve the problem of unplanned downtime, limit the impact of outages and eliminate budget overages?

Digital Divides

Embracing digital transformation is now a requirement for companies looking to compete in the global market, safeguard critical data and integrate end-user demand for mobile devices. To meet this aim, businesses are turning to the cloud; as noted by IT News Africa, SaaS investment is headed for a 50 percent increase over the next year, and 43 percent of business leaders say cloud providers offer better backup and disaster recovery outcomes than trying to handle these tasks in-house.

But what happens if network infrastructure goes down and companies can’t leverage internal services, let alone cloud solutions? The Veeam report found that 69 percent of global enterprises citied availability as essential to digital transformation, but 66 percent say this transformation is being held back by downtime. Caused by cyberattacks, network outages or natural disasters the result is the same: Companies can’t adopt truly innovative digital strategies until downtime worries are addressed.

The Human Factor

If monetary loss and digital frustration were the only outcomes of unplanned outage that would be bad enough — consider British Airways’ recent three-day downtime, $68 million reimbursement price tag and almost 3-point stock price drop — but as noted ZDNet availability issues also come with other, less obvious costs.

For example, a recent study found that when staff are interrupted to deal with emerging issues — such as email server failures or application performance problems — it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus after the immediate problem is solved. In addition, cognitive function can decrease by 20 percent after interruptions, making IT pros less focused and less effective every time they’re pulled off-task to deal with an emergency.  Also worth noting? That 69 percent of IT budgets are dedicated to MOOSE (maintain and operate the organization, systems and equipment) costs rather than new projects or innovative ideas. And the more downtime your organization experiences, the more of your budget and time goes into maintenance instead of advancing new business efforts.

Two-Pronged Effort

So how do enterprises solve the problem of unplanned downtime? The bad news is that it’s impossible to eliminate the issue, since natural disasters and network outages don’t follow any set plan or schedule.

The good news? With the right tools in place, IT teams can improve their ability to detect downtime issues and effectively remediate root causes. First up is real-time analytics. The Veeam study reports a 36 percent year-over-year increase in downtime incidents — access to real-time endpoint analytics helps IT teams quickly identify areas of concern, proactively address issues or prepare for unavoidable downtime. Taking downtime management a step further is user perception feedback. Given the massive number of applications, systems and services now leveraged by staff both on desktops and mobile devices, their feedback plays a critical role in diagnosing issues and determining root causes. With the ability to access user perception of IT services and easily follow-up with staff for more detailed feedback, IT teams are better able to understand the scope of downtime issues and determine effective solutions.

Outages are inevitable. Reduce budget overages, limit downtime impacts and empower employees with the double defense of real-time analytics and end-user feedback.