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Availability Trends

Communication Breakdown: Workplace Outages Plague UK Organisations as Business Disruptions Remain High

28th July 2016

Communication failure tops the list for the first time as UK customers call on 

Sungard Availability Services to maintain business-as-usual


London, United Kingdom: 28 July 2016Sungard Availability Services ® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has today revealed that communication issues have, for the first time ever, been named as the top reason for UK businesses to invoke  recovery services.

Overall, the number of downtime incidents, in which staff are unable to work from their usual office or access business critical systems, remained largely the same – with only a five per cent decrease compared to 2014’s figures. Despite the minor drop, these findings have given rise to fresh concerns that organisations are still not investing adequate resources in maintaining business availability for that most important of resources – their people.

Notably, issues arising from communications-related failures have jumped up by a third and now account for over 25 per cent of all total invocations*. This year saw the highest level of communication problems since the annual analysis began over two decades ago. And while invocations due to technology dropped by 71 per cent, workplace issues, in which the office environment is rendered inaccessible, leapt up by a substantial 37 per cent – the biggest jump since 2009.

The analysis of Sungard Availability Services’ annual Availability Trends report** suggests that while technology resilience has been prioritised, enterprises may be neglecting other important factors in maintaining availability: namely, people and processes. The advances in managed, virtualised and dedicated IT solutions that have seen Technology Recovery declarations fall from a high of 109 in 2002 to a mere 7 in 2015, have yet to deliver the same business availability improvements for the workforce. Yet, as organisations continue to adopt a more flexible and agile approach to work – with flexible hours, remote working and geographically distributed teams – lines of communications between colleagues and business departments have become increasingly central to sustaining day to day operations.

Companies therefore need to take a holistic approach to their continuity and resilience strategies. As well as recovering their mission critical technology and IT systems, they also need to ensure their ability to limit downtime for their workforce. The increased take-up of Disaster Recovery as a Service *** offerings, which include such capabilities as Managed Recovery Programme and Cloud-based Recovery services, as well as a rise in investment for dedicated workspaces demonstrate that businesses are wakening up to the need to invest in comprehensive and robust recovery strategies that will address their people, not just their systems.  Such a holistic focus will enable organisations to meet ever-growing customer and stakeholder demands for both consistent and constant levels of availability.

“From reputational damage to missing out on sales and the subsequent loss of customer trust; the cost of downtime is simply too high for modern businesses to contemplate. With ever more demanding customers, recovery and continuity has become a lynchpin in enterprise success. “It is vital that organisations understand the importance of a joined up strategy – one that unites all aspects of their operating model, from the technology through to the people and processes. Holding any of these areas in isolation simply will not work. True availability can only come from a united approach which addresses all sides of the enterprise.”

— Daren Howell, senior manager solutions marketing – availability, recovery & continuity, Sungard AS

Keith Tilley, executive vice president, global sales and customer services management, Sungard Availability Services added:

“Building and maintaining the kind of sophisticated continuity strategy needed to ensure availability for today’s modern organisations is a complex task, fraught with any number of potential pitfalls. Doing it alone is a near-impossibility for organisations that often lack the in-house resources and expertise needed to manage such an intricate and multifaceted problem. Working with an expert third-party can offer businesses the helping hand they need when it comes to fusing the availability demands of an All-Time™ world with the commercial outcomes the business requires.”

Sungard Availability Services’ Top Three UK Customer Invocation Causes 2005 – 2015

2015 2014 2013
1. 27% Communications 1. 21% Hardware 1. 26% Power
2. 16% Power 2. 19% Communications 2. 18% Hardware
3. 14% Fire / 14% Flood 3. 14% Power 3. 18% Other
2012 2011 2010
1. 34% Power 1. 37% Power 1. 27% Power
2. 19% Hardware 2. 21% Communications 2. 25% Communications
3. 13% Communications/Other 3. 16% Hardware 3. 23% Hardware
2009 2008 2007
1. 27% Hardware 1. 39% Hardware 1. 35% Hardware
2. 27% Power 2. 19% Power 2. 22% Power
3. 17% Communications 3. 16% Data Corruption 3.12% Flooding
2006 2005
45% Hardware 43% Hardware
31% Power 26% Terrorism
7% Communications 13% Power

To view the related infographic A Disruptive Decade: The trends that have shaped business availability’, click here.

* An invocation occurs when a Sungard Availability Services customer calls upon Sungard AS to action its Business Continuity, Technology Recovery or Workplace Recovery arrangements.

**Availability Trends (formerly known as Invocations) research reports annually on factors impacting the uptime of Sungard Availability Services’ UK customers and/or how they are ensuring business as usual.

***Gartner Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service by John P Morency, Christine Tenneson, June 2016, April 2015


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