In the last ten years, IT has dominated the modern workplace, increasing businesses dependence on high capacity, connected networks, which when they go down cause significant disruption. Research estimates that 54% of service provider customers could lose between £10,000 and £1m from just one hour of system downtime.

For most organisations across any industry, the amount of technology required for a company to function makes information management and maintaining constant uptime a serious challenge. Gartner has suggested that we’ve created so much advanced technology as humans we cannot keep up, with analyst Avivah Litan arguing that technology is “becoming unmanageable.” Ensuring the right level of support is in place is critical for business continuity and uptime. Ignoring training as a means to increase uptime will not only prolong any downtime, but incur significant costs as organisations will need to purchase services much more often than should be necessary.

The traditional model of hardware support run by third party maintainers, whereby an engineer is dispatched to provide a fault resolution whenever something goes wrong, irrespective of complexity, is often not the best use of expensive resource. This approach fails to recognise skills of existing staff and changing requirements. Not only do companies have less hardware on site, instead housing it in centralised data centres, but demand for a more cost effective approach is rising. Focusing less on outsourcing every aspect of maintenance, and instead investing in training IT staff will enable repairs to be made faster, more efficiently and lower costs by reducing call outs for expert engineers. Training will in turn help to minimise downtime, ensure staff are up to date with new technology and improve personnel retention whilst servicing customers at the highest possible level.

We estimate that failing to resolve hardware faults on the first site visit adds at least twenty five per cent to servicing costs. With this in mind, getting issues resolved as fast as possible is critical to maximising uptime. Training staff in how to make quick fixes, or replace an individual part can make the whole process much simpler and faster. The best inventory-as-a-service partners, are helping organisations to self-resolve on faults and dramatically cut costs as a result. Simple tasks such as swapping a part out for a replacement can be completed by a member of staff with simple training or access to remote technical support, lowering fault resolution costs as a result. A good provider will be able to deliver parts within two hours of systems going down, handing over to staff on site to make the switch.

Research by business consultancy Genpact estimates enterprises waste over £258 billion a year on failed technology transformation projects. Dr Didier Bonnet, SVP at Capgemini believes this is largely down to a focus on deployment over adoption. For organisations looking to introduce new IT, staff buy in is critical. We’ve found that organisations providing staff with training, improve employees confidence in managing and maintaining new technology so the most is made of new investment. Simply adopting something new won’t guarantee its success, no matter how much better the new product or tool might be. Failing to encourage staff buy in to use new tools and equipment will simply waste investments and IT budget.

When staff leave, it can cost organisations as much as twice an employee's salary to appoint a replacement as a result of lost productivity and recruitment costs. Empowering staff to take ownership through quality training is proven to increase retention and wellbeing. At the same time, organisations will be able to improve staff productivity by recognising development needs. Productivity can be increased by up to 14 per cent as a result of higher levels of engagement, meaning businesses can deliver services 26 per cent faster according to research by Towards Maturity which in turn enhances the customer experience and contributes to higher retention levels.

Furthermore in IT repairs, maintaining skills will give engineers working at customer sites greater confidence in their expertise and ability to provide a quality service. Growing knowledge and hands-on experience is proven to help improve self-assurance, making people better equipped to succeed at their jobs.

Organisations failing to regularly support IT staff through training and development are failing to recognise these individuals’ importance as businesses become ever more technologically dependent. Especially when we consider the high cost of prolonged downtime, ignoring training as a means to save money is a risky strategy. The cost of a training course will be significantly less than that of an hour of downtime, and will ultimately help to maximise uptime when businesses most need it.

By Richard Eglon, Marketing Director at Agilitas