We consider the key trends that will define 2018’s key business challenges… Plagued by cyber-attacks and skills shortages...
In just a few short years, the concept of ‘availability’ – maintaining business as usual – has gone from being seen as an optional extra to a fundamental necessity. When SunGard Availability Services started out more than 30 years ago, our business was primarily concerned with disaster recovery. As customers’ tolerance for downtime has reduced to near zero, businesses now realise that it’s not enough simply to recover quickly from a business interruption – they need to prevent that disruption from happening in the first place – and our services have steadily evolved in line with that ethos.
Over the years, we have repeatedly and consistently ‘banged the drum’, promoting the availability message to a wider world. Frankly (and I won’t be breaking any confidences here), it sometimes felt like we were a lone voice in the wilderness. But, finally, it seems a seismic change in attitudes has taken place. As our research-based white paper ‘Availability and the Bottom Line’ revealed, more than three-quarters (76%) of CIOs surveyed now believe availability is crucial or important to their organisation’s performance.
I enjoyed a recent opportunity to interview Professor Nelson Phillips of Imperial College London when we discussed the multitude of factors behind the shift. Customer, supplier and employee expectations mean companies are under increasing pressure to be ‘always on’, however complex a challenge this may present. Loyalty is fast becoming an antiquated concept. As we all know from our own personal experience, if we cannot buy from our first choice provider, we simply move on to the next one on the list.
Globalisation means that someone is always working somewhere and, consequently, businessses need to be available around the clock too. As Professor Phillips remarked, “Organisations like Google always work and customers don’t understand why everyone can’t be like that.”
 Research conducted by Vanson Bourne in July 2012 involving interviews with 450 IT directors in organisations with 250 to 1,000 employees in the UK (250 interviewees), France (100) and the Nordics (100) across a wide range of business sectors.