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Computer support—an investment in business success


John Flowers headshot.pngby John Flowers, Worldwide Channel Marketing Manager, HP Technology Services


I once heard a CFO describe a corporation as an investing machine—every dollar you spend should show a financial return. And every purchase must compete with other potential purchases for investment dollars with the investment showing the greatest return getting the nod. For IT, it has always been difficult to quantify the return on investment (ROI) in computer support. It’s viewed as just a cost. You know you need it, but when you take purchase requests for support to the CFO, she looks for hard numbers. What is the actual cost of downtime? How can effective support drive those costs down? What’s the ROI?


Rather than have you stumped for answers, we pulled together some survey data to help quantify the cost of downtime. For example, did you know that the average company loses $5,600 USD in revenue per minute of downtime?[1] Multiply that by the 23 hours of downtime and data recovery time the average business experiences every year and you get more than $7.7 million. But that’s not even the whole impact. During periods of downtime, 37 percent of employee productivity is lost, 35 percent of surveyed businesses said customer loyalty suffers, and half say their business reputation suffers. The potential damage from data loss is especially frightening with 23 percent of companies saying data loss would be disastrous.[2]


There are several factors that contribute to system downtime:

  • The number of failures—Hardware failures account for less than 20% of downtime. Computer equipment is more reliable than ever, but we continue to pack more equipment into smaller spaces.

  • Resolution time—The time required to diagnose and resolve the problem.

  • Misdiagnosis—Using older diagnosis methods of swapping out parts can increase downtime and allow problems to pervade the entire environment.   You may think you will save a few dollars if your provider buys parts from e-Bay, but you may experience that same fault over and over, because they are only addressing the symptoms not solving the problem.

HP support services address all of these downtime factors.  We take advantage of intelligence built into our ProLiant Gen8 servers, our own software, and our investments in capturing the knowledge of millions of devices and thousands of experts to prevent downtime and improve diagnostic accuracy.  For example, HP Proactive Care reduces the number of failures by spotting developing problems before downtime occurs. We generate regular proactive system scans and reports and offer recommendations to help you avoid downtime.   Because your system is connected to HP, we can diagnosis the issue remotely with 95 percent accuracy. We can even start the resolution ball rolling before you know there is an issue. And you can select service options with the on-site response time that best suits your business needs—from next-business-day response to 24 x 7 coverage with 4-hour response to a 6-hour call-to-repair commitment.


But what about the returns? Surveys show when you connect your systems, you experience a 40 percent reduction in resolution time. And Proactive Care customers experience 66 percent less downtime across the board. Applying the cost-of-downtime figures we saw earlier, that’s worth $4.8 million in annual revenue alone to the average business. You can sweeten the return by adding back that lost employee productivity and the value of customer loyalty. That’s a pretty good ROI considering HP Care Pack Services for most devices cost less than you might spend for a cup of coffee each day.


These are averages, of course, based on surveys of companies like yours. But they are a good starting place, and they certainly beat going to the CFO and claiming computer support is a necessary cost. And speaking of meeting with your CFO, we put together an infographic that lays out the whole story and provides sources for the data presented. You might just want to print one out to keep in your desk drawer for the next time someone claims support is just a cost.



[1] Gartner, “Ensure Cost Balances Out With Risk in High-Availability Data Centers,” 11 February 2013 (evidence derived by Ponemon Institute, 2011).

[2] CA Technologies, “The Avoidable Cost of Downtime: The impact of IT downtime on employee productivity,” January 2011.

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Great information, especially the infographic, I love it. I had no idea that downtime can contribute to a loss of $5,600 though, that's crazy! 

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