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IT problems cost UK companies £6.9bn in lost labour

IT issues and the time it takes to fix them is costing UK companies billions of pounds due to employees not being able to work

UK enterprises are paying staff £6.9bn in wages for periods that they are forced to be unproductive as a result of IT problems.

According to research commissioned by artificial intelligence (AI) software company IPsoft, this is part of an overall loss of £62.4bn as a result of periods of lost productivity caused by IT failures.

The research, carried out by 3Gem, surveyed 3,000 people at UK companies with more than 250 staff. It found that staff lose an average of seven working days a year due to IT problems. On average, workers were found to experience 15 hours each year when they are unable to work at all.

The current processes for fixing issues are too complicated for many workers. Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents agreed that solving an IT problem should be as simple as asking Siri a question, but currently 33% said they go to colleagues to try to fix things before asking the IT department.

And the loss in productivity is not the only problem, with company reputations at risk of damage too. The study found that in the past 12 months, 58% of all respondents said they’d had an IT issue that had prevented them from providing service to a customer.

“IT is both the accelerator for digital transformation and, paradoxically, the stumbling block for digital strategies,” said Chetan Dube, CEO of IPsoft. “These findings show that business users want an altogether different experience from their interactions with IT and the processes it supports.”

Read more about robotic automation

IPsoft recently announced a first beta customer for its latest service, which enables business users to access automated IT and business services by interacting with a robot. Global medical imaging systems supplier Carestream Health is the first beta customer for the service, known as 1Desk.

The system brings together service desks so business users can make a single request for support in IT and enterprise services such as HR and finance. It connects cognitive capabilities at the front end, to understand customer requests, and translates them so the autonomic platform, at the back, can automate the process required to carry out a request or fix a problem.

As businesses increasingly transform digitally, problems being experienced by employees and customers will have to be automated from the point at which the problem is reported. Employees and customers will need to be capable of reporting a problem in a way that triggers the automated fix, much like they might ask Siri a question.

“Business users want to be able to talk to their IT applications and have the applications solve their problems or requests, thereby disintermediating large segments of classic IT operations and ticket-generating systems”
Chetan Dube, IPsoft

The research found that 51% of respondents find it easier to explain the IT problems they are having verbally than through text or form-filling.

“Business users want to be able to talk to their IT applications and have the applications solve their problems or requests, thereby disintermediating large segments of classic IT operations and ticket-generating systems,” said Dube.

Recent research from Quocirca revealed that UK business are losing an average of £200,000 a month as a result of critical IT incidents. Quocirca’s Damage control – the impact of critical IT incidents report, which was commissioned by Splunk, found that the average UK company faces 3.5 critical IT issues every month, which cost businesses an average of £58,955 each – a total of more than £206,000.

In terms of the total number of IT incidents – many of which are not critical – UK companies reported 2,533 per month, compared with 1,061 in the US and 1,288 in Germany.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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