A random selection of IT metrics

A search of variuous sources revealed some interesting facts and figures about IT departments. John Dix reports

1. As a percentage of overall capital spending, IT averages around 50%.

2. By some accounts, 80% of IT dollars go to operations today and only 20% to capital expenditures, whereas 20 years ago it was more like 50% each.

3. IT spending as a percentage of revenue was a more significant metric when IT was mainly a backroom operation but it is still a core measure. The rule of thumb is 4–8%, but it depends what vertical market one is looking at. In retail, for example, the goal is down close to 1%.

4. Average system utilisation is 20% — a leading driver for grid and virtualisation technologies.

5. Core network infrastructure can be expected to last about seven years.

6. Upfront system costs are the tip of the iceberg. Actual implementation can cost two to three times that and, in terms of managing the system over time, the initial cost may be as little as one-seventh to one-tenth of total ownership cost.

7. By some estimates, 40% of the cost of deploying new applications is integrating them with legacy programs — one of the drivers of web services

8. The cost per hour of downtime varies greatly by industry, ranging, for example, from US$90,000 ($NZ128,000) per hour in airline reservation and catalogue sales to $US6.5 million per hour in financial services. Knowing how much downtime costs the company can help justify investments in everything from quality infrastructure to disaster recovery capabilities. Regarding the latter, Gartner estimates that two out of five companies that experience a disaster go out of business within five years.

9. Even with consolidation trends, datacentre device growth is 30-35% per year, fed in part by the move to a smaller footprint and simpler machines such as blade servers.

10. The trick is adding new datacentre gear while scaling down complexity. Because of that complexity, eight out of 10 failures result from human error.

11. Ten years ago the helpdesk supported an average of 25 applications; today it supports 200. With helpdesk calls costing US$50–$60 each, companies are striving to reduce the application count and move towards self-service.

12. By some estimates, each user generates between 800MB and 1GB of data per year, and data growth overall averages 25–35% per year.

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