Only 16% of 91,000 IT service incidents logged with Dimension Data service centres in 2013 were related to a device while the other 84% of incidents were related to non-device issues such as human error, telecom failures or environmental issues.
The largest category of IT incidents are due to human error, with nearly one-third of all incidents – 6% configuration errors plus 26% other human errors – are potentially avoidable.
According to Dimension Data’s annual Network Barometer Report, these statistics are worrying because a large proportion of incidents fall outside of a support provider’s traditional remit, and must be resolved by organisations themselves.
First published in 2009, this year’s Network Barometer Report was compiled from technology data gathered from 91,000 service incidents logged for client networks that Dimension Data supports.
In addition, Dimension Data also carried out 288 technology assessments covering 74,000 technology devices in organisations of all sizes and all industry sectors across 32 countries.
Telecom, or wide area network (WAN), failures came in as the second most frequent root cause – at 22%. This is to be expected, considering the complexity of maintaining and managing the many different components of a geographically dispersed telecom network.
Third on Dimension Data’s Network Barometer Report list of the most frequent causes of service incidents are physical environment problems such as loss of power, air-conditioning failures, temperature control problems, and more. These account for 15% of all incidents.
In fourth position, are device-related problems, with 14% of all incidents attributed to hardware. Adding a 2% of incidents attributed to software bugs, this indicates that only 16% of all service incidents fall within the remit of device support contracts.
“This latest data tells us that these service incidents are not device related and fall outside typical maintenance contracts therefore, they will need to be addressed and resolved by the organisation’s internal support resources,” says Rich Schofield, Dimension Data’s Business Development Director for Networking.
“From a lifecycle perspective, one might expect the failure rate of obsolete devices to be higher than current or ageing devices.
"That’s because obsolete devices are older and maintenance options are limited. However, this year’s analysis shows that the failure rate of obsolete devices is around 1% lower than either current or ageing devices.
“We investigated how likely obsolete devices were to fail when compared with current or ageing devices. We expected to uncover that obsolete devices would cause longer downtime when they fail than current or ageing devices.
"We were surprised to find that the data indicated otherwise. In fact, the average mean-time-to-repair for all devices is 3.4 hours.
"Broken down by technology lifecycle stage, the data shows that current devices take about 48 minutes longer to repair than the average.
"Ageing devices take the shortest time to repair - about 42 minutes shorter than average. Obsolete devices take slightly longer to repair than ageing devices at 3.3 hours, but still in substantially less time than current devices."
Considering that the large majority of services incidents are not related to network devices and that maintenance requirements for these devices vary by lifecycle stage, Schofield recommends that the most effective way for organisations to improve their network service levels and ensure maximum availability is to invest in mature operational systems and support processes.
“Knowing the devices and their lifecycle stages, having sparing strategies for obsolete equipment, and understanding the potential network impact if devices fail will support greater network availability," Schofield adds.