Downtime – no matter the cause – is the bane of any business, and IT companies aren’t immune to its adverse effects. Quantifying the costs of downtime is vital for technology managers looking for additional ammo when trying to get infrastructure projects approved by their executive team. Those corner office denizens tend to be tight with the purse strings if they don’t understand the real reasons behind the need for investment.
Here are a few ideas for determining the true costs of downtime to ensure vital project requests end up getting approved by your bosses.
Visualizations Help Executives Understand the Effects of Downtime
Executives tend to understand an issue more clearly when presented with a report containing visualizations explaining the problem. This rule especially applies when describing complications related to a detailed technical system. Getting your bosses to fully comprehend the dilemma is a vital part of inspiring them to want to fix it.
Whether your project is for enhancements to your company’s network infrastructure, a complete migration to a cloud-based system, or fixes to a mission-critical software application, providing diagrams and charts to explain how the new project minimizes downtime gives you a better shot at approval. Also, focus on showing how their investment reduces costs by boosting productivity.
This is a case where the “picture tells a thousand words” idiom makes perfect sense.
Determining the Costs of Downtime in Raw Numbers
Raw numbers remain an effective way to present the true costs of downtime to an executive team. Providing a summarized spreadsheet with these numbers in addition to the diagrams and graphs described earlier is an effective presentation strategy. Some simple calculations will likely be necessary when creating this spreadsheet.
First, determine a rough estimate of the average hourly salary for those employees likely to be affected by any downtime – your HR department is likely a good source for this information. The productivity impact factor defines the percentage of lost effort due to a network outage. The ultimate cost of downtime per hour is simply the number of employees affected, multiplied by the productivity impact factor, and multiplied again by the average hourly salary.
Organize this information to show a range of costs based on different productivity impact factors and/or by different failure points. Offering this data in an easy-to-understand fashion helps earn executive approval for your vital project.
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