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The true cost of downtime for digital businesses

The true cost of downtime for digital businesses

The exponential growth of data, the Internet of Things, the cloud and social media is placing pressure on businesses to ensure faster service delivery and remain competitive within a digitally transformed society. Downtime means elimination in the digital ecosystem.

This was the key message to IT professionals and decision makers attending the VeeamOn Forum in Dubai this week.

Delegates were met with an impassioned plea from speakers to reverse the negative effects that downtime is having on their companies' ability to stay afloat in a digitally transformed society.

Megha Kumar, Senior Research Manager, IDC Software told attendees that cloud, mobile, social and big data are on the rise in Africa and the Middle East, and this has increased the pressure on organisations to ensure that users gain access to functionality because they now want services even faster, at a continually cost effective rate.

There is also a growing demand for shared services especially in group organisations.

"In addition to your smart devices you have the Internet of Things; you have robotics coming into play because by 2017 the mandate is that you will have robots deployed at Metro stations and the malls as well. You also have VR coming into play, next generation security and 3D printing...and the thing is that these kinds of technologies are not just driving innovation, but they are transforming or accelerating this innovation at a fast pace leading to what we call digital transformation. This is clearly the type of ecosystem that we are going to be in. As IT you have to make sure to not only handle your infrastructure, but you also have to make sure that the entire infrastructure and the workload on top of that infrastructure is actually available."

Omnichannel enterprise

Kumar added that IDC research in the region shows that enterprise mobility is becoming a bigger priority in 2016 and it is taking place alongside a surge in big data with 65% of the region's CIOs indicating that they expect to deal with data growth at an average of 20-30%.

"The fact is that even more of us are going omnichannel. Organisations have more than one social media presence for example and that is because customers, employees and suppliers are more demanding and this is the world to come. By 2020 the IDC expects to the world to encompass five billion connected people, nearly 30 billion connected devices – I expect this to be higher than that – 25 million apps and over 50 trillion gigabytes of data that you are going to have to deal with."

The impact of downtime will have major financial, legal and reputational implications for organisation according to Kumar.

"The IDC has found that unplanned application downtime impacts fortune one thousand companies for as much as $2.5 billion per year and infrastructure failure led to as much as $100 000 per hour."

Ronald Dsa, IT Manager at television broadcaster OSN, which broadcasts more than 150 channels in North Africa and the Middle East, along with an accompanying call centre, vouched for the costly impact of downtime and the need for businesses to incorporate solutions to prevent such heavy losses.

"Our operations need to run 24/7 without interruption. One second in downtime can result in thousands of bills. Before we virtualised our IT infrastructure we had realised that if there is no backup or recovery strategy in place we can have a major disaster. Our decision has also made it easy to scale up."

Gregg Petersen, Regional Director, Middle East & SAARC, Veeam Software reiterated the costly impact of downtime on organisations.

"There is a problem and I've seen it since 2011 until today. Veeam commissioned a survey of 1140 customers globally in terms of what business is expecting and what IT decision makers and CIO's can deliver and 84 percent of them said they cannot meet the SLA's. Ninety-six percent of them had to minimise application downtime and 94% had to guarantee access to the data. Every business has become a software defined business and while the IDC says costs are about $100 000 an hour, we have come very close with a smaller sample finding that the hourly cost can be $80 000 for downtime and the average hourly cost of the data $90 000 an hour."

Petersen told ITWeb Africa that more than 40 of the companies in the Veeam survey were African companies and the financial challenges resulting from downtime were similar to trends elsewhere in the world. Results of the survey are contained in the company's 2016 Availability report 2016.

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