A survey of resellers, MSPs and systems integrators conducted by Agilitas revealed that 54% estimated their customers could lose anything from £10,000 up to £1m from just a single hour of downtime, while 40% are seeing over four hours of downtime when hardware goes wrong.
"Having IT hardware spares available has for many years been essential to business continuity and maximum uptime. However, as organisations become more dependent on technology, SLAs are being shortened and expectations raised," said Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas. "Two hour part-to-site SLAs 24x7x365 are becoming the norm."
The research also revealed that 40% of customers see on average over four hours of downtime when hardware fails; 40% of providers find meeting SLAs the greatest challenge to providing inventory support to customers, and 25% sourcing parts; and 20% are struggling to get parts to customers on time in order to meet critical SLAs.
"Meeting SLAs and reducing downtime through flexible support should be the key aim for service providers," added Lynn.
"Inventory-as-a-service's ability to distribute parts quickly from multiple locations means that providers won't need to worry about getting a part from A-to-B again, coupled with direct access to technical and remote support 24x7x365."
Agilitas also surveyed service providers running their own in-house operations, revealing that a quarter currently run complete in-house inventory operations despite the rising cost of office and warehouse space; over a fifth aren't sure how much storing parts costs each year; and one in seven say the high costs of managing inventory is preventing investment in other areas of their business.
"The increasingly high capital (capex) cost of managing hardware often makes it unsustainable for many IT providers. Organisations want an always-on service, with two hour SLAs met 24x7x365. As a result, organisations moving towards inventory-as-a-service are reducing capex, as the service keeps costs stable, ensuring inventory management is an operational (opex), not capital expenditure," said Lynn.