Application downtime can cost as much as £550,000 an hour for many companies, according to research from analyst firm Forrester Research.
A survey of 430 organisations revealed that of the 138 respondents who could put a figure on losses, 38% said application downtime costs them between £55,000 and £550,000 an hour, with 4% saying it was even more expensive than that.
The research, which was commissioned by IT services firm Compuware, also revealed that 67% of businesses did not know or could not provide an estimate of the financial cost of IT downtime.
Companies need to provide more financial information about IT downtime in order to get help from the board and other areas of the business so they can address the problem, said Mike Lucas, regional technology manager at Compuware UK & Ireland.
"By looking at the financial cost of downtime IT departments can also provide much clearer information to the board about the return on investment of application performance projects,” he said.
Although the research showed the majority of organisations could not provide information about the financial impact of downtime, it did show that most use a variety of different metrics to measure the effect of downtime.
Some 70% said they could measure the applications affected by the problem, 69% the number of users affected by the problem, 61% the business locations affected by the problem, 48% the persistence of the problem, and 42% the specific transactions affected by the problem. However, only 28% of respondents indicated that they have all five of these measures in place.
“It is encouraging that a large number of IT organisations appear to have some form of business-impact metric in place,” said Lucas.
“However, it is worrying to see that 31% of businesses do not know how many users are impacted when performance problems occur and that over 50% do not know how the problem affects business transactions or processes. IT departments need to be utilising all of these metrics if they want to be proactive and service orientated.”