Lack of Automation Hinders Speed of Response to IT Outages and Incidents
January 24, 2017

Vincent Geffray

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It's an eye opener to see that while companies have implemented service management for the most part — more than 90 percent of companies reporting that they have an IT Service Management system (ITSM) — only 11 percent of companies stated that they have automated the process for organizing their response to IT outages and incidents, according to Everbridge's 2016 State of IT Incident Management report.

This finding is significant because 47 percent of the companies reported having a major IT incident at least 6 times a year, the average cost of downtime is $8,662 per minute, and companies take 27 minutes on average to assemble an IT response team. Automated solutions can reduce this average time to 5 minutes or less. Considering the average cost of $8,662 per minute, the savings realized could be higher than $190,000 per major IT incident.

Key findings from the research include:

Most Companies Have an ITSM or Ticketing System

Over 90 percent of companies reported using an ITSM or ticketing system.

Major IT Outages or Incidents Occur Quite Frequently

47 percent of companies experience a major IT outage or incident six times or more a year.

36 percent experience them close to monthly (11 or more times per year).

More than a quarter of respondents reported that their companies experienced more than 21 incidents last year — that's close to two per month.

Only 9 percent of respondents reported that their organization did not report a major IT outage or incident in the past year.

The most common sources of incidents are network outages (experienced by 61 percent of companies), hardware failure or capacity issues (58 percent), internal business application issues (51 percent ), and unplanned maintenance (41 percent).

Responding to IT Outages and Incidents is Complicated and Too Manual

Two thirds (66 percent) of companies have distributed IT organizations with people spread among multiple locations and multiple time zones.

39 percent have more than 25 people included in their IT response teams. 29 percent have more than 50 people who need to be coordinated to respond to an incident. 16 percent more than 100 people.

43 percent of respondents reported that at least part of their process relies on manually calling and reaching out to people to activate the incident response team. Only 11 percent reported using an IT alerting tool to automate the process. These systems can improve response by reaching people through multiple modalities; use schedules to see who is available; automatically escalate to additional people if designated primary contacts do not respond; automatically organize conference bridges; and provide an audit trail of performance.

Response Times Could be Significantly Reduced by Automation

The mean time to activate and assemble a response team was cited as 27 minutes. Automated solutions can reduce this response time to 5 minutes or less.

IT downtime is expensive and hurts productivity

The average cost of IT downtime was reported as $8,662 per minute.

63 percent of respondents stated that IT incidents or outages hurt employee productivity, 60 percent that it caused IT team disruption or distraction, and 34 percent that it decreased customer satisfaction.

13 percent reported that their organization had experienced bad press or publicity due to an IT incident or outage.

Methodology: The sample for the research was 152 IT professionals, including 86% of respondents from companies of 1000 employees or more, and 45% from companies with more than 10,000 employees.

Vincent Geffray is Senior Director, Product Marketing, at Everbridge
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