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Availability Trends

Workplace Outages Due to Environmental Neglect Higher Than Ever

11th May 2017

80 per cent of situations requiring support from Sungard Availability Services due to workplace incidents, largely stemming from an increasingly vulnerable physical workplace environment


London, United Kingdom – Sungard Availability Services ® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, today revealed that issues related to the office environment are an increasing reason for organisations to invoke their recovery services. In fact, 8 out of 10 invocations* are due to workplace incidents.

“8 out of 10 invocations are due to workplace incidents. While the threat from malicious cyber attacks continues to grow and dominate headlines, the physical workplace environment is becoming increasingly vulnerable with the number of workplace invocations rising by 200% year on year.”

— 2016 Availability Trends UK, Sungard AS

While the threat from malicious cyber attacks continues to grow and dominate headlines, this year’s data shows that the physical workplace environment is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Compared to the previous year, the number of invocations resulting from a workplace issue, in which the office environment is subsequently rendered inaccessible, have grown by 200%. In fact, 2016 saw the highest level of environmental issues since the annual analysis began over two decades ago. Companies are in danger of neglecting their physical surroundings, as they focus efforts on ensuring a more robust and secure virtual infrastructure, such neglect could have serious consequences for them, as well as their employees and customers. For example, something as simple as maintaining power to the workplace may seem a given, but power failures continue to hold second place as the largest cause of invocation failure in the workplace office environment. These types of invocations are on the rise for the third successive year; in absolute terms increasing 50% on 2015, whilst as a percentage of total workplace outages they now account for one in four failures (24%) up from the one in five impact of previous years 19% (2015) and 18% (2014). With 21st century digital initiatives being power dependent, such failures stand to undermine the very progress organisations seek to achieve as they undergo transformative IT programmes.

“…issues arising from communications-related failures have remained at exactly the same level as last year and remain the leading cause of business invocations.”

— 2016 Availability Trends UK, Sungard AS

Meanwhile, issues arising from communications-related failures have remained at exactly the same level as last year and remain the leading cause of business invocations. Despite challenges such as lengthy disruptions caused by rail strikes, the analysis reveals two areas of concern: that businesses are still not equipping their workforce with reliable means to communicate, whilst investment in appropriately robust communications systems for the workplace lags behind that for IT (with not even a single communications-related outage being reported by Technology Recovery customers). As working practices continue to move towards a more flexible model, it’s more important than ever that organisations take steps to ensure their employees can reliably stay in communication with their colleagues, customers, and other important stakeholders.

“Technology invocations relating to hardware failures increased by 140% this year.”

— 2016 Availability Trends UK, Sungard AS

The analysis of Sungard Availability Services’ annual Availability Trends report** also shows that whilst technology invocations are maintaining a downward trend, issues relating to hardware failures increased by 140% this year. Noticeably, these customers invoked QuickShip services – the delivery of IT equipment – meaning that it was likely the failure occurred on the IT hardware under their control.


“It’s clear from this year’s data that not enough investment is being made to ensure facilities are properly maintained. Companies cannot afford to neglect the environment in which they house their people and hardware otherwise they risk seriously impacting their ability to service customers and potential squander their position in the market. Our very own Buckingham Palace is a good example of this – due for its biggest refurbishment since the Second World War, the cost of the project has a current price tag of £360 million to carry out essential work to mitigate against ‘catastrophic building failure’. This is just one element that could impact business availability. A joined-up approach that unites all aspects of a business’ operating model is the key to ensuring true availability.”

— Daren Howell, product marketing manager, Sungard AS

Keith Tilley, executive vice president & vice-chair for Sungard Availability Services added: “In today’s ruthless and fast-paced business environment where customer loyalty can turn on a dime, it is more vital than ever for companies to avoid any reason for customers and employees to look elsewhere. This is easier said than done when the IT environment is increasingly complex and digital skills are at a premium. It’s becoming increasingly impossible for companies to go it alone as they just don’t have the in-house resources and expertise required for such complex IT environments. This is where we can support – providing the much-needed third-party support that allows companies to maintain their position in the market and even look to challenge it through new innovations. Having peace of mind that their IT is in hand gives them the freedom to focus on driving their businesses forward.”


Sungard Availability Services’ Top Three UK Customer Invocation Causes for Workplace & Technology Outages Combined 2005 – 2016

2016 2015 2014
=1. 21% Communications 1. 27% Communications 1. 21% Hardware
=1. 21% Power 2. 16% Power 2. 19% Communications
=1. 21% Hardware =3. 14% Fire / 14% Flood 3. 14% Power
2013 2012 2011
1. 26% Power 1. 34% Power 1. 37% Power
2. 18% Hardware 2. 19% Hardware 2. 21% Communications
3. 18% Other 3. 13% Communications/Other 3. 16% Hardware
2010 2009 2008
1. 27% Power 1. 27% Hardware 1. 39% Hardware
2. 25% Communications 2. 27% Power 2. 19% Power
3. 23% Hardware 3. 17% Communications 3. 16% Data Corruption
2007 2006 2005
1. 35% Hardware 1. 45% Hardware 1. 43% Hardware
2. 22% Power 2. 31% Power 2. 26% Terrorism
3.12% Flooding 3. 7% Communications 3. 13% Power

* An invocation occurs when a Sungard Availability Services customer calls upon Sungard AS to action their 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.