IT managers deal with technological snafus on a daily basis, but there are few problems as heartburn-inducing as network downtime. At the storefront level, operations personnel can’t meet the needs of their customers when the network goes down. Similarly, IT managers can’t meet the needs of store operators without a functioning network. Also, downtime often brings consequences that last far longer than the outage itself.
Here are five reasons IT managers hate network downtime:
Loss of revenue.
Customers may walk away from potential purchases when they see long lines or realize their credit card transactions will not be processed quickly, if at all. Lost sales may take the form of merchandise-in-hand as well as gift cards. CEB Global reports that 65% of gift card users spend 38% more than the face value of their cards, meaning that lost gift card sales result not only in the loss of the initial sale, but also in the additional revenue spent when gift cards are used by the recipient.
Further, while operating offline, fraudulent credit cards and transactions that would normally be denied may be approved by default for purchases, on which the merchant will later take a loss.
The impact of a network outage on a company’s brand can be significant. When customers are unable to complete an intended purchase or have to wait a long time, customer perception of the brand is negatively affected. In a world of social media, customers may also share their frustrations with larger audiences, causing the consequences of a store outage to extend past the storefront itself.
Additionally, if network outages are frequent, the damage compounds itself over time as customers associate a brand with poor customer service and a lack of reliability. In fact, three out of five consumers say they would switch to a different brand if they felt it offered a better service experience.
Time for repairs.
When a network goes down, IT managers may be unable to access the network remotely to diagnose and repair the problem. Storefronts using DSL may also be utilizing access that operates under a residential service structure, which means they may have to wait — sometimes for days—for a physical team to dispatch and arrive. The costs of the actual repair can add significant expense to the losses already incurred through lost revenue and brand damage.
Time loss also comes into play for IT managers themselves, who have to shift their productivity toward fixing a critical situation instead of proactively working on other projects.
IT manager credibility.
Along with customers and storefront personnel, IT managers suffer when a network becomes unavailable. Even when connectivity outages aren’t the fault of IT managers, they are still held responsible for finding solutions. Often, the prevailing attitude becomes, “It’s always the network’s fault.” There’s a lot of finger-pointing with an outage. The provider of the circuit will blame the hardware; the hardware provider will blame the network provider. It’s lost productivity for an IT manager’s staff because they’re tied up troubleshooting.
While IT managers work to find a solution as quickly as possible, frustration and losses mount.
Perhaps the most frustrating fact for IT managers is that losses associated with a downed network can be avoided with proactive planning.
If companies weigh the cost of implementing failover technologies against the losses associated with network downtime, the costs of putting in a failover solution can end up being quite a bit lower than those other factors. Downtime calculators, for example, can easily help a company determine how much is lost per hour during a connectivity outage, as well as what the cost of failover solutions would be in comparison.
According to Gartner, every minute of Internet downtime costs retailers an average of $5,600. As enterprises examine the cost-benefit ratio of implementing failover solutions to reduce downtime, it’s critical to have an accurate picture of exactly how network downtime negatively impacts the company’s bottom line.