Business Case Studies

How to combat business downtime

Business downtime might sound like everyone gets to relax and enjoy a break but the name is very deceptive. Have you ever seen all your computers crash at work? Or simply been unable to open the programs you need or connect to the internet?

I’ am guessing the majority of people reading this regardless of their position or the industry they work in will have likely experienced something like the above examples at least once. These are examples of business downtime and what it basically means is that something somewhere isn’t working correctly.

It is sometimes known as business IT downtime because the issue will almost always be related to your IT system in some way. Businesses across all industries can experience downtime and there are a wide-range of possible causes.

So, how do you combat business downtime? Well, there is actually a number of different strategies you can employ to help you deal with business downtime although in some cases even these solutions may not be able to help.

But even so, it would be wise to consider utilising some of these strategies to help combat the dangers of business downtime. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ways you can combat business downtime in more detail.

Power factor correction

Leading the way in the Johnson & Phillips who are one of the leading transformer manufacturers in the UK who provide a thorough high-quality service. But what does power factor correction actually mean and how does it help combat business downtime?

Power factor correction or PFC as it is commonly known can sound a little complicated but to give you a simple lowdown it is the measure of how effective your incoming power is used in your businesses electrical systems. PFC uses capacitors to help increase efficiency of your businesses and it is connected to your real, reactive and apparent power.

Think of it like this real power is what is used to power an appliance, reactive power is needed by some equipment to produce an electromagnetic field in order for it to operate Apparent power is the sum of the two together giving you the power factor.

In many machines this factor may be to low which can cause issues like overheating, equipment failure and high energy costs. Even something at 90% will still be to low but PFC can help you offset these problems by optimising and improving the power factor.

Businesses today use all kinds of equipment don’t they? To ensure they are working optimally you can utilise PFC to achieve greater efficiency. Depending on the nature of your business you might require more specially designed PFC equipment.

Utilising PFC is a great way to help combat businesses downtime especially in relation to network and hardware issues the two leading causes of downtime. PFC is shown to have many other potential benefits as well like improving the lifespan/ performance of your businesses electrical equipment.

It is also relatively fast and easy to install and Johnson & Phillips have stated that many businesses can benefit from having an almost immediate payback on investment. It has also been shown to help lower energy bills as well. So, there are a lot of benefits to utilising PFC in your business especially when it comes to dealing with the dangers of business downtime.

Survey equipment/ employees

PFC isn’t the only way to combat the risk of business downtime you can also help reduce downtime by carrying out regular inspections of your business’s equipment. If you run a very large business then this can be a very difficult task which is why many businesses will regularly replace equipment in order to ensure they don’t fall victim to issues caused by older IT systems.

But many SMEs can usually inspect their equipment themselves to ensure they are operating correctly. It might sound doubtful but sometimes things as simple as a damaged ethernet cable could cause long periods of business downtime. So, carrying out regular maintenance and inspections of equipment can help cut down the risk or impact of business downtime.

But business downtime isn’t always going to be connected to your IT equipment developing a fault. Which means simply inspecting your equipment and ensuring the proper updates are done won’t completely cover you. One of the other more common causes of business downtime is human error.

Human error as I’ am sure you can imagine encompasses a wide number of different possibilities. It could be something simple and easy to do like accidentally unplugging something or even hitting the wrong key or something more extreme like knocking a glass of water onto some of your equipment.

Sometimes the risk of human error is going to be completely out of your hands when it comes to network issues an error made miles away can result in problems for your business that you are unable to really do anything about. But you can reduce the risk of business downtime in your own offices be ensuring staff have clear guidelines on how to act and behave around equipment.

You should also ensure have proper security and a dedicated maintenance/ IT team as well so help and assistance will always be on hand if you need assistance. You can’t completely get rid of the potential for human error but you can certainly reduce it.

The dangers of business downtime

Business downtime is usually caused by a combination of issues which is why things like power factor correction, training your employees and regular maintenance and upgrades are all viable solutions businesses should invest in. One growing concern amongst many is that many businesses aren’t really putting any kind of strategy together to combat business downtime.

Instead, they are just accepting it as “one of those things” that will sort itself out in time. This would be a very costly mistake because whether you realise it or not business downtime will have a huge negative impact on your business especially if it happens repeatedly.

If you are a retail business then downtime will mean people will be unable to complete transactions and they will be less likely to use your services in the future. But even if you don’t sell products/ services business downtime is still time your employees will still be paid for even when they can’t actually do any work.

It is a loss-loss situation for businesses which means you should take the dangers of business downtime seriously. Even if an issue arises that does cause business downtime you can still use the above strategy and advice to help you manage and reduce it. So, if your business doesn’t have anything ready to help combat downtime now is the time to start.