Technology issues costing UK PLC 'billions' and contribute to national productivity gap

28 June 2017

When issues do occur, more than a third of IT users feel that they do not receive sufficient IT support. 

When problems do occur, more than a third of IT users felt that they did not receive sufficient IT support. 

IT failures are costing UK companies £35 billion per year, says a new report just published by Managed 24/7.

It reveals that the average employee in the country’s IT and telecoms sector loses more than 20 minutes per day of productive time due to technology issues.

According to the report, average UK loss per year per employee is £1,499. This is based on an average hourly rate of £12.92 and the loss of 116 hours a year (source: ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2016 provisional results).

With 23.34 million people working full-time in the UK, Managed 24/7 says the potential total cost to the economy is £34,993,662,000 per annum.

The managed services provider adds that if the average amount of time lost was applied to all full-time workers, the equivalent of the entire population of Birmingham and Milton Keynes would not be working all year. 

In an online survey carried out earlier this year, Managed 24/7 polled 2,015 private sector employees under senior management in the UK. 

Ironically, it says IT and telecoms are the worst affected sectors for the impact of IT issues on customer relationships, with 35 per cent of respondents saying they have received IT-related complaints from customers, compared to 24 per cent on average for all sectors polled.

The survey found that the average employee in the IT and telecoms sector who uses IT and has experienced issues, wastes 20.62 minutes per day due to technical problems. 

According to the research, the top five issues they experienced last year were:

  • Failures in connection (61 per cent)
  • Slow running systems/equipment (60 per cent)
  • Outdated kit or software (37 per cent)
  • Poorly installed new systems and/or equipment (21 per cent)
  • A system crash lasting more than a few hours

When issues do occur, more than a third of IT users feel that they did not receive sufficient IT support. This is more marked for very large organisations that have 500 or more employee where 36 per cent of staff feeling dissatisfied.

Large companies also have the worst record for resolving IT issues, with 15 per cent of respondents finding it typically takes more than a day for problems to be sorted out.

As a result, the survey found that staff are inclined to attempt to fix issues on their own: 27 per cent said they are most likely to deal with IT issues themselves. 

In addition to the underlying costs in term of productivity and the bottom line, the report also found that amongst employees who use IT at work, 32 per cent believe that their workplace IT systems are damaging their ability to do a good job. This rises to 37 per cent for firms with more than 500 employees.

Managed 24/7 CEO John Pepper says the UK is being behind by its “more technically adept” neighbours.

Managed 24/7 CEO John Pepper says the UK is being behind by its “more technically adept” neighbours.

Forty-four per cent stated that IT problems directly cost their business time and money, while 40 per cent agreed that they had better IT systems at home than at work.

John Pepper, CEO and founder of Managed 24/7, says the country is facing a productivity crisis that is resulting in the UK lagging well behind other developed nations.

"The UK currently ranks seventh in the G7 and seventeenth in the G20 for productivity per person. Fixing our outdated and poorly managed IT systems and support should play a significant role in closing this gap, especially in the UK IT and telecoms sector.”

Pepper says it takes a worker in Germany four days to produce what his or her UK counterpart does in five. In light of recent outages such as at British Airways and the NHS, he says it is time for the UK to address its IT issues to ensure that the country isn't left behind by its “more technically adept” neighbours.