Research commissioned by SunGard Availability Services, a pioneer and leading provider of Information Availability services, has revealed that only 40% of UK organisations think an inability to deliver availability* will result in them losing customers. This comes despite widely-publicised customer discontent following recent high-profile business service delivery failures – whether systemic or technology related. The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne this month among 250 senior decision-makers from organisations with 250-1000 employees in the UK, further explores whether this is something born out of complacency or naivety.
Findings show that the majority (82%) of respondents do recognise the importance of availability to operations, but that when it comes specifically to customer satisfaction and retention the connection is not made. In a hard-pressed economy, more businesses are focusing on availability with regards to its immediate impact on the financial bottom line. 61%, for example, worry about the negative potential effect on revenues and profitability, while 68% consider it in terms of delivering increased productivity. Technology may be a vital means of supporting a growth agenda, but only if firms correlate improved availability and responsiveness of systems to their customers’ needs too.
“The idea of a truly ‘available enterprise’ requires a change in mindset with the appropriate organisational structure and new business processes to support this,” says Professor Nelson Phillips, professor of strategy and organisational behaviour, Imperial College London. “As a priority, I think organisations must get to grips with the steps, processes and investment required to successfully transition to this type of business model in order to benefit from some of the advantages outlined in the research including increased productivity, customer satisfaction and competitiveness. Firms that fail to do so will face increasingly unhappy staff and customers.”
In overcoming the challenges of availability, the majority of respondents recognise the need to escalate the issue, traditionally associated with the IT department, into the wider enterprise, in particular the board level. 69% agreed that thinking of availability in terms beyond the IT infrastructure (taking into account people, processes, changing trends) is essential, while 50% believe that the IT department’s role must be better embedded across the entire business to drive results.
“We’ve reached a tipping point where technology and processes can derive the insights that are needed to take businesses to the next level,” comments Keith Tilley, UK&I managing director and executive vice president for Europe, SunGard Availability Services. “In the fast changing world we live in, the availability of resources can be the difference between success and failure. The pressure on the business to ensure constant availability will only increase, giving rise to the need for organisations to adopt an ‘available enterprise’ approach to their business.”
SunGard Availability Services is working with Nelson Phillips of Imperial College London, to investigate the ‘available enterprise’ approach in more detail. The report will be available for review in September 2012.
*Availability is defined here as: Enterprise availability for any organisation means that its people, data and processes, and the infrastructure that connects them, are all accessible as required to support the business. It is about keeping people and information connected.
Tags: BC/DR, Compliance, Deduplication, Disk/RAID/Tape/SSDs, Ethernet Storage, SAN/NAS, Tiered Storage, Virtualization