Executives face a variety of potential technology disruptions that can impact the productivity of even their most experienced knowledge workers. It takes great agility to adapt to the fast-changing technical landscape while also keeping daily operations running smoothly.
Many businesses track productivity by measuring system uptime and downtime. But measuring the operational condition of the network is only a fraction of what constitutes productivity. Tracking productivity begins with an examination of traditional Service Level Agreements (SLA).
SLAs: spelling out services and guarantees
SLAs define how your company addresses service and performance that can impact staff and clients alike. They spell out the uptime and downtime metrics used to achieve optimal productivity. For instance, if your server stops working, all mission critical applications such as email, access to client data and everything in between, is unavailable. SLAs specify the service goals as well as measurement and recovery protocols for getting the services back up and running. SLAs determine how computer uptime relates to costs to your company and clients in terms of time, money and trust.
Define uptime metrics to create an attainable productivity benchmark
These metrics include:
- Availability (system accessibility)
- Planned maintenance (not considered downtime)
- Interoperability (integrating applications)
- Efficiency (operational throughput)
This calculator shows your potential outage in time rather than showing it in general percentages. Input your uptime SLA and it will give your potential downtime amounts, right down to the second. This will help you choose realistic expectations that fit your company situation.
Understanding the causes of downtime and how it impacts your business is an important first step.
How uptime and downtime metrics benchmark productivity
Use your uptime/downtime metrics as a benchmark to determine your system’s productivity. Your SLA determines how your firm measures productivity, when it is measured and what is included in that measurement. Then answer these questions:
- Do you start measuring when systems are alerted to the downtime or is it better to go back to the point where slowness first began?
- Is a partial outage measured and how?
- Will you include scheduled maintenance in the metric or only outages?
Your company’s C-level executives need to embrace this process so it is important to review the metrics with them on a regular basis.
5 most common causes of system disruption
Security – IT security concerns continue to hamper businesses in almost every industry. Despite the development of advanced security tools, the greatest threats still come from employee carelessness. Additionally, natural disasters, theft, malware and hacking attacks can cause disruption and data loss. Many companies struggle to find the right balance between security and productivity.
Maintenance – Cost cutting, growth and a lack of technical expertise can lead to improperly maintained computers and core devices. The policy of only dealing with equipment when it fails can paralyze a business, often at a critical moment. A routine maintenance program relies on manufacturer recommendations and established best practices. Preventative maintenance addresses potential problems before they cause downtime. When you consider the devastating cost of unpredictable equipment failure, you will understand why successful businesses spend money on regular maintenance.
Employee training – Despite a substantial IT investment, some companies experience disruptions and outages because workers don’t understand the business software and equipment features. There is a direct connection between employee training and productivity. It is important to provide adequate IT training and support for all your workers.
Upgrades – Companies hurt themselves when they ignore the natural obsolescence of their IT assets. To avoid unexpected expenses create a budget for consistent investment in software, services and equipment. Planning the upgrade process carefully avoids choking business operations with disruptions.
Timing– Savvy business leaders make strategic changes outside the usual busy cycles to limit disruption.
Understanding the causes of downtime and how it impacts your business is an important first step. With a capable technology staff implementing the suggestions above, your business should be well on the way to increased productivity. But if the expertise to define metrics, create a budget and apply advanced security is lacking then it is time to turn to a Technology Management company.