Maximum uptime is critical in a globalised, ‘always-on’ business world

Globalisation has changed the way we work and communicate as geographic boundaries blur and cease to be an issue.

January 9, 2013

By Angelique Smit, Client Relationship Manager at RDB Consulting

Globalisation has changed the way we work and communicate as geographic boundaries blur and cease to be an issue. This has resulted in an environment where many businesses no longer operate from eight to five, but 24x7x365. While this has many implications, including the requirement to be highly agile to remain competitive, one aspect that is often not considered is the IT infrastructure. In a world that relies on IT and an ‘always-on’ environment, the infrastructure itself and particularly mission critical areas such as the database, require maximum uptime and reliable, fast-response support.

The need for business to be available at all times, in any time zone, places a lot of pressure on the IT infrastructure and the support services around this infrastructure. Organisations can simply no longer afford for their systems to go down, at risk of losing customers and operational efficiency.

IT support has therefore become paramount in a globalised environment and is particularly relevant with regards to areas such as the database, which houses all of an organisation’s data. If the database experiences downtime, the business itself is crippled as customer data cannot be accessed and transactions cannot be processed. The database is central to the modern organisation and if downtime is experienced, revenue is lost. In order to run a competitive globalised business, organisations need as close to 100% uptime as possible. This in turn requires constant monitoring and a proactive approach to dealing with issues, before they become problems that will negatively impact operations.

An in-house resource that performs these functions is often not a viable option. Aside from a shortage of skills available, a single resource is also not available 24x7x365. Having more than one resource in-house is not cost effective since there may not be enough work for two full time resources during the course of normal operations. Using temporary staff to fill in when a full time resource is not available is one option, but is not always a cost effective option. Temporary staff are usually charged for at a premium and furthermore, they don’t understand the client’s environment which may hinder productivity and support ability.

Due to the requirement for maximum uptime, the need for resources to be available around the clock and the shortage of specialist database skills, outsourcing these services has become increasingly popular. Using an outsource provider for critical IT support ensures that organisations can draw from a pool of skilled resources that are always available when needed, no matter what time of day or day of the year. Niche outsource providers are also typically specialists in specific areas, such as the database. This means they can ensure a stable support structure is in place and that the environment is optimised for maximum efficiency.

Outsourced organisations also ensure that all resources are up to date with the latest training and skills, so businesses do not have the overheads and loss of productivity that go hand-in-hand with continuous training. Business continuity is also assured, since the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of the outsourced provider will ensure that should a resource leave, they will be replaced with another resource of the same skill set. This results in a seamless service for the business, ensuring they remain up and running 24x7x365 and can focus on their core business, supported by the IT infrastructure.

As globalisation has changed the game for business, maximum uptime of critical IT systems, such as databases, is therefore essential. Opting to outsource niche and critical IT functions is the way forward for companies that wish to remain competitive in today’s business world, as well as into the future.