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'IT hell' costs £19bn

The cost of a computer breakdown builds up to an eye-watering £19bn a year, according to ICL

Computer breakdowns cost industry £19bn a year in wasted time, according to IT services company ICL.

The IT day in hell survey, commissioned by ICL and conducted by market research firm Benchmark, revealed appalling levels of waste and stress caused by IT problems.

There were some bizarre findings – for example, 12% of those surveyed said their computer being offline for a day was more stressful than breaking up with their partner. While 10% found computer failure more worrying than missing a plane.

One-third of employees estimated that they waste more than 30 minutes each day due to slow or unreliable technology, and 10% said they waste more than one hour a day.

Some 62% said they have to wait for more than 30 minutes for IT problems to be resolved, with 40% waiting longer than an hour. ICL has costed these delays at £19bn a year for the UK economy.

A third of staff spend over 30 minutes a week trying to solve other people’s IT problems, and more than half of those quizzed said they want training so that they could fix their own computers.

Dave Chapman of ICL said the stress levels revealed by the survey show how central IT is to people’s working lives and careers. To avoid an “IT day from hell”, he suggested IT departments and help desks should:

  • Be proactive, preventing problems occurring, rather than reacting to them.
  • Manage desktops remotely.
  • Establish a database of information for users.
  • Prioritise security and firewalls.
  • Invest in skills, and provide comprehensive user training.

Top time wasters

The IT day in hell survey found that the IT causing most wasted time is:

  • PC (47%)
  • Office networks (45%)
  • Printers (43%)
  • Email access (30%)
  • Internet access (13%)

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