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IT downtime estimated to lose 127m employee hours/$4.8bn per year – what cost printers?

Issue #1113/3 – A recent report claims more than 127 million employee hours are lost to IT downtime each year [costing businesses in the order of $4.8bn at US rates]. We speculate that, with around 30-40% of help centre calls reckoned to be printer-related, printer downtime costs could be as high as $1.9bn. Thus, we cannot afford to ignore the reliability factor in relation to the printers we buy.

Two thousand organisations were surveyed in Europe and North America in order to compile the report by research company Coleman Parkes for IT giant CA Technologies (press release here).

There is no indication in the press release whether the research included printer and MFP downtime or not. Therefore, we can only speculate on whether the information discovered is relevant to printers as well as PCs.

If we assume that the figure quoted includes printer downtime; that the 30-40% of IT helpline calls being printer-related is still relevant; and that we can take the same ratio as relating to employee hours lost, then it is quite feasible for printer downtime costs to amount to anywhere between $1.4bn and $1.9bn annually.

If, on the other hand, we were to assume that the research did not include printers, but that the 30-40% call ratio still stands, the overall cost could be anywhere between $2bn $3.2bn.

Now, clearly, there is unlikely to be any direct relation between this research and the situation surrounding printers and MFPs. However, the important factor here is the scale of costs incurred by downtime. This report certainly underlines the paramount importance of reliability in the IT infrastructure and this is absolutely just as relevant to printers and MFPs as to PCs and servers.

TCPglobal ran a series of articles 18 months ago looking at the implications of reliability (or lack of it) and the related costs, as follows:

Supposing we assume that the principle suggested by the CA Technologies, that 1 hour’s physical downtime relates to around 80 hours of cost, is also relevant to printer/MFP downtime, then we could reckon that the human costs quoted in this series of articles should probably be multiplied by a factor of 80!!

However, the research included downtime costs relating to the total system downtime, including full recovery of data following repair. So, the relevance to printers and MFPs does not stand. In addition, most employees will be well able to continue with other work while the printing device is repaired, and can probably use another printer in the meantime, significantly reducing the levels of lost productivity compared to a total IT system failure.

Clearly, the point of this article is to link this research by CA Technologies with the TCPglobal articles from early 2010 to emphasise that reliability MUST not be ignored when choosing not only the type of printing device to be used, to ensure that it is appropriate to needs, but also when choosing the brand/manufacturer. The cost implications of not doing so could be devastating!

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