By Daniel Hunter

SunGard Availability Services, a pioneer and leading provider of Information Availability services, has worked with Nelson Phillips, Professor of Strategy and Organisational Behaviour at Imperial College London to launch the ‘Delivering the Available Enterprise’ report, looking at the challenges organisations face when keeping people and information connected in today’s changing business landscape. The report is based on in-depth discussions with C-level and senior management IT decision makers across the UK, France and Nordics.

In conjunction with the report, SunGard commissioned a study of 450 senior IT decision-makers across the UK, France and the Nordics, which revealed that a staggering 80% of organisations across the three countries do not have the right skills and resources to completely manage availability* effectively. This means they are struggling to get a handle on the key business processes, people and systems required to keep people and information connected. As a result, the majority of companies in the UK (87%), France (83%) and Nordics (86%) admit that customer and staff expectations of availability are not always met. In terms of the specific issues to address, overly complex infrastructures and a lack of dedicated funding are the biggest pain points for the enterprises.

“The window to deliver change and effectively connect people and information won’t always be open,” says Professor Nelson Phillips, professor of strategy and organisational behaviour, Imperial College London. “The report looks to highlight the increasing pressure facing senior decision makers to deliver an ‘always on’ enterprise, something that the research highlights as set to increase further, as customer and staff pressure levels look to increase significantly over the next five years— expectations that must be met if a business is to remain competitive as a place to work and do business with.”

The report also highlights the most important areas to address in resolving the problem of availability. Companies across the UK, France and the Nordics need to think beyond the IT infrastructure, taking into account people, key business processes and changing trends — in particular mobile working and consumerisation of IT - to have a more integrated approach to IT. In addition, the commitment of time and resources from board and senior management comes across strongly in both the report and research findings as essential components in building and managing an available enterprise.

“The positive side to recent, high profile outages is the growing awareness that disruptions can happen to organisations of all sizes at any time,” says, Charles Ward, COO of Intellect. “A business’ reputation can be damaged in a matter of hours, thanks to social media, therefore it is essential that the importance of availability is fully understood.”

“With many CIOs calling for more support from the board and senior management, a top-down approach to enterprise availability would be wise to take,” comments Keith Tilley, UK&I managing director and executive vice president for Europe, SunGard Availability Services. “Senior staff must lead by example and demonstrate the value of having employees, customers and stake holders at every level connected throughout the organisation. Only then can you deliver flexible working processes that respond to the needs of the business.”

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