Business managers in the United Kingdom lose 31 working days—more than 10 percent of the year—putting out fires that result from bad management of IT systems, according to a study released June 4 by Partners in IT, a U.K.-based service management company.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of non-IT business managers surveyed said they spent, on average, 12 percent of their time each week dealing with problems caused by their IT systems. Eighty percent admitted IT system downtime was a productivity issue, and 90 percent of IT respondents in large companies admitted that downtime was such an issue that half (51 percent) cited it as a serious problem for them and their colleagues.
For those asking whether their IT is functioning efficiently enough to be considered a business asset, the research, IT Service Management—Is It Worth the Money? argues that maintenance and management, not infrastructure, are the issue. Seventy-seven percent of midsize company managers said as much, citing an estimated 13 percent of their IT investment as wasted due to insufficient upkeep.
"It is outrageous that so much of managers valuable time is wasted due to poor IT maintenance and management. Technology should be a key enabler to help managers run their businesses efficiently and effectively—it should save us time so we can focus on the core task of running our businesses. Something has gone badly wrong and has to change," said Paul Cash, managing director of Partners in IT.
"Globalization of successful businesses coupled with more flexible and mobile work forces have driven innovation within even the largest of companies," said Cash. "Technology has played its part in helping to drive this innovation but, just as any other resource in an organization, technology needs to be maintained and managed—it needs time devoted to it to ensure that the most benefit is gained."
Planning is the issue, Cash said. He argued that by understanding their business present IT condition and its ability to monitor and manage key business services before committing to new technology or processes, companies will better protect their IT resources against waste. Without such planning, Cash said he often sees that once an implementation is complete, the technology and value it delivers degrades as management and maintenance fail to keep pace.
Furthermore, he warns against a hero culture in IT, in which a lack of robust and enforceable processes leads the wheel to be reinvented with each new project.