In today’s cashless, contact-free society any customer-facing business, be that across retail, leisure or hospitality has traded in their traditional cash registers for new, modern Point of Sale (POS) technology. However, although we all appreciate the efficiency with which modern transactions are handled, keeping the system running seamlessly is no simple feat. In fact, most businesses are solely dependent on these systems for processing and recognising revenue. As a consequence, the majority of customer-facing businesses have set the development and maintenance of their POS system as one of, if not the, biggest BAU priority.
What does it mean to you if your POS goes down?
The cost of an outage is relatively easy to work out. In simple terms, if your POS system goes down you have no way of processing sales and revenue instantly drops to zero. Therefore, the cost of the outage is simply the value of typical turnover per hour multiplied by the duration of the failure plus the cost of getting the system up and running again.
But to work out what the cost of an outage truly means to you as an organisation we also need to work out the ‘soft’ costs. Depending on when the outage occurs, the duration, the frequency with which outages occur and the impacted area of the business, it not only carries revenue loss but significant loss in reputational brand value. These costs are almost impossible to work out but it’s clear to see how this is going to impact customer loyalty and therefore impact not only revenue today but future revenue as well.
In addition, having focused on the externally facing damages from a customer perspective, you also need to contend with the internal operational costs. These are often characterised as the indirect impact to the business. Every minute IT are spending firefighting an IT incident, they are not spending on their day job. Therefore, frequent outages, big or small, are a huge drain on employee productivity and employee satisfaction when you factor in the fatigue and stress of getting everything up and running again.
To summarise all of this, I thought it would make sense to put some hard figures against potential losses outages cause. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute to the average organisation across a variety of sectors. This means losses per hour of downtime can be as low as $140,000 per hour and go up to as much as $540,000. Now, as I mentioned, there are many variables to contend with, not least that this research hasn’t focused on any industry in particular, but it quantifies the value to your business of reducing and, where possible, eliminating outages.
How can ServiceNow help?
By consolidating your IT infrastructure and data onto a single platform you can completely transform how you plan, build, operate and provide services across all IT functions. It is critical for you to gain visibility into your estate so you can measure system health and understand how issues impact how your business operates. This makes it much easier to resolve outages and even eliminate them entirely.
The reality for most retail and hospitality businesses is that they are operating on an estate full of disparate, legacy point solutions. These individual systems don’t communicate with each other which makes it almost impossible for IT to trace back an outage to its root cause. Instead, when an outage occurs you have to sit for hours into the middle of the night in a war room using trial and error to fully trace it back. This is fraught with risk, not least because of the unpredictability, and you ultimately have no idea how big an impact an outage is really having or how long it’s going to take to resolve if you have no visibility.
ServiceNow can help you make work flow seamlessly between each of these point solutions, but more importantly, gain that priceless visibility by consolidating your infrastructure into a single system of action. With all of your point solutions connected and all of your data in one place, you can build out service maps which show you what configuration items are involved and when during service delivery. This gives you full, real-time visibility into service performance, allowing you to proactively monitor high-risk points of failure. But it also means that if an outage does occur you can easily follow your dependency map to trace it back to the root cause. This drastically reduces downtime and gets your services up and running again with minimal delay, drastically reducing lost revenue and remediation costs.
When was the last time you had a serious outage? What is the expected cost of that outage to your business? If you are interested in discussing how Crossfuze and ServiceNow can help you avoid future outages, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me personally at email@example.com.