Avoid Hidden Technology Costs for Your Business
When we think about the costs of Small and Midsize business (SMB) technology, various device, software, and service prices come to mind. We also may ponder the cost of maintaining an ever-changing Information Technology environment by hiring someone to take care of “computer issues” or contracting an outside company to provide technical support as needed. A critical thing we miss in our assessment is the hidden costs of network and computer downtime.
According to Infonetics Research, companies experience an average of 501 hours of network downtime every year. The overall downtime costs a whopping average of 3.6% of annual revenue. This means that if your business generates $1,000,000 of revenue per year, you may be losing as much as $36,000 to network downtime. It’s important to keep in mind that downtime does not necessarily mean that you lost connectivity to your network and computer systems, it can also mean that your network is degraded and not performing at an optimal level.
Here are 5 ways that network and computer downtime directly impact business productivity:
1. Highly Paid Personnel Performing IT Functions
It is not uncommon to find billable employees, or business owners, “tweaking” computers and applications to make them work in order to meet a deadline or complete a proposal. Whatever the reason may be, SMB employees should focus their attention on the timely delivery of their goods and services to clients. Any minute spent by an employee fixing a technology problem is deviating attention from more important and critical tasks.
2. Employees Managing Technology Problems and Vendors
Sometimes, whenever a problem occurs, employees end-up having to call technology vendors to report the problem and resolve the issue. Most of the time, this employee will have to wait “on-hold” until the “next available representative” comes on line. After overcoming this first roadblock and upon confirmation that the user is authorized to report problems, is when the troubleshooting begins. However, often the employee lacks the necessary technical knowledge to relay the pertinent information to the vendor to facilitate the discovery of the root cause of the problem and a solution to it. To make a long story short, business employees may potentially end up spending half their shift resolving an issue with the technology service.
3. Network and Systems Being Down or Performing Poorly
Any time a billable employee is forced to stare at a screen, waiting for access to an application or file because the network is insufficient or because the computer can no longer keep up, the employee is inadvertently causing a cost to the business by being unproductive. Downtime can be the result of various issues such as improper network and computer equipment maintenance, old equipment that cannot support more demanding applications, insufficient internet bandwidth, just to name a few.
Besides not being productive, an employee will grow frustrated and overwhelmed with the poor response of the network or the constant loss of work performed when the connectivity is lost. This seemingly never-ending cycle continually adds pending tasks to the employee’s backlog, resulting in low morale and attrition.
4. Virus and/or Malware Attacks Causing Loss or Impaired Access to Critical Data
As most of us know, malicious attacks are on the rise worldwide. The most prevalent form of malware is “ransomware” which encrypts data files and then demands a ransom payment; victims are warned that if the ransom is not paid within a period of time, the key to de-encrypt the files will be erased. The cost of such attacks is high and could prove detrimental to a business.
Most malware attacks are executed when we open e-mails inviting us to “click here” to obtain further information. Once we do this, files are inaccessible and recuperating them is difficult and time consuming. And while efforts are being made to recuperate the data, the entire business is being unproductive.
It’s important to note that most businesses do not proactively train employees on how to recognize malicious e-mails or implement preventive systems to recognize them before they cause harm.
5. Technical Support Responding Slowly to Requests for Service
Many businesses rely on a “computer guy” to resolve issues when they come up. The problem is that because he or she is busy attending other clients, businesses have to wait until they are available. This “waiting” time is unproductive time.
To make matters worse, once the “computer guy” shows up he or she must spend time re-figuring network and systems configurations, patching computer system that hadn’t been done since the last time someone worked on the computer, etc. This adds time to the resolution of the problem
A Proactive Approach to IT Management
As we all know, technology is here to stay and is now an important pillar of business success. For this reason it is important businesses address technology with a more proactive approach to improve productivity and supports the overall strategy of the business. Such approach should include:
- Preventive and ongoing maintenance of network and computer equipment,
- Timely and responsive technical support,
- Comprehensive protection against outside threats,
- Reliable data back-up and recovery, and
- Planned investments in systems and software upgrades.
Addressing the hidden costs of technology will make the cost of technology more predictable and effective and will have a direct impact on the business bottom line.