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Measuring Disruption by Its Human Impact
Written by Avi Raichel, CIO, Zerto 

Ensuring that all technology throughout an organization is working properly - no matter which team uses it - is up to the CIO. This means both setting the strategy for technology growth within the organization, as well as how that impacts the people, processes and products that a business delivers. It also, unfortunately, means dealing with the fallout when something goes wrong and a tech-related disruption occurs. In these situations, the first thought for most is "how is this going to impact the business and affect us financially?" This is not surprising, as 37 percent of organizations impacted by disruption could trace a direct loss in revenue to the event.

However, more than just money or data can be lost after an incident, and it's imperative for CIOs to look at it from all angles. Organizations should also be considering the human impact of downtime.

The problems, beyond IT

Tech-related disruptions can come in many forms, ranging from ransomware and cybersecurity attacks to natural disasters that take down a data center, or human error. Following these types of incidents, organizations reported that in 53 percent of cases, employees had to work overtime, and in 50 percent of them there was a loss of productivity. All of this can seriously affect staff morale, on top of any financial or business losses. According to EY, three of the top six factors that full-time workers give for quitting their jobs is to do with supporting a better work-life balance, with excessive overtime hours being the third most commonly cited reason overall. This creates a strong link between events that force employees to work overtime and a real risk of losing valuable talent.

Then, no matter the origin or impact, these issues tend to all come back and fall on IT teams to remedy. A common perception lately is that IT teams are not skilled enough to meet the new challenges of rising data levels, and this may be more than just perception, as a Robert Half Technology survey found that 39 percent of respondents from IT teams felt there were not enough opportunities in their workplace to keep their IT abilities up-to-speed. This places IT teams on the back foot when it comes to dealing with emerging new technology and the ways it can cause disruption to a business, creating additional stress which is amplified when and if something goes wrong.

These human aspects of downtime - be it working too much overtime, the demotivation of a loss in productivity, or the drop in confidence that comes with a lack of investment in training require swift action as part of a CIO strategy. To right these wrongs and ensure your company avoids losing top-talent employees, there are a couple of angles to consider.

The Solutions

First, training - for everyone, but particularly to help with IT teams who have found IT transitioning at an unimaginable rate. It's smart to educate and inform staff on best practices for responding to the different security and technology challenges that occur in today's data-driven world. Staff members need to feel confident that they are aware and informed enough to deal with any issues as and when they happen. To do this, there will need to be clear disaster recovery plans and chains of command for responding to disruptions that staff are aware of and can rely on in the event of a problem. In addition, IT teams would benefit from further training in ways to test and execute DR plans, managing and protecting data across different platform, quick recovery plans in case of an emergency, and more.

Next, investing in resilient infrastructure to prevent disruption and downtime. If you can provide your IT teams with solutions that are able to recover data quickly and seamlessly, you'll be lessening the chance of employee overtime or loss of productivity, and in turn, keeping employees happier. In addition, a recent study from Pew Research found that millennials now make up 35 percent of the US workforce, and Medium found that those millennials value fast in-office tech as one of their top ten priorities at a job. This doesn't just mean flashy new laptops, it also means providing internal software and services that are online, quick and ready to use when an employee needs to use them. If IT teams are not keeping up with rapid updates in technology and ensuring it is working at top performance for everyone, it could lead to loss of talent from this vital demographic (and others) across the entire business.

While it's obviously important to think about how a tech-related disruption is going to impact a business financially, it is also important to think about how it's going to impact the humans that have to deal with and recover from the disruption. Making sure all of your employees feel well-trained and confident on all technology platforms available to them, and your IT department feels equipped and ready for any threat thrown their way - with the right tools to do just that - is going to save a lot of labor hours and keep employee morale high. These are all necessary for long-term employee retention, which goes hand-in-hand with recruiting top talent in your industry. Have you prepared for all angles of a disruption?

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About the Author

 

Avi Raichel joined Zerto as CIO in 2017. Avi leads the company's IT team tasked with ensuring that internal processes & systems continue to thrive alongside Zerto's strong business growth. Before joining Zerto, Raichel spent 17 years at Amdocs where he rose from MIS team leader to vice president of information systems. He led a group of 350 IT professionals and brings expertise and a proven track record of initiating, planning and executing large scale technology led transformations that meet measurable business goals. Avi holds a B.Sc in Economics & Accounting from the Tel-Aviv University, and a CPA certificate from the State of Israel.  

Published Friday, January 04, 2019 8:02 AM by David Marshall
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