According to a survey by Dynamic Markets, nearly 70 percent of IT managers only learn of performance degradation when users contact them and nearly a third (28 percent) only notice when the systems have actually crashed.

UK managers, however, are eagle-eyed when compared to their counterparts in the US. Seventy-nine percent of US managers have to be informed by their users that there are problems with system performance and more than half (51 percent) only notice problems when the systems have crashed.

These findings should cause concern to vendors of performance monitoring software. Globally, 45 percent of organisations use such software, yet only 18 percent of IT managers say that they can rely on them.

The survey, sponsored by Veritas Software, also revealed that companies only pay lip service to the concept of charging different departments for IT services. While more than two-thirds of organisations claimed to have some sort of chargeback system in place, most of them just split costs across departments without any regard for usage. Only 25 percent of UK managers operating a chargeback system actually charged departments by PC, user or network connection.

Chris Boorman, Veritas’s European VP of marketing, said that it was encouraging that most organisations saw a need for some sort of chargeback but IT managers should be looking at structures that better reflected usage. He pointed out that all too frequently business managers were not involved in decisions on IT charging or in drawing upSLAs and that business heads should be working more closely with IT departments on some of these issues.

The survey aimed to look out how prepared companies were for so-called utility computing. Boorman said that the technology wasn’t there yet but it time, IT would become more like electricity and will be charged according to use and allocated according to need. “We’ve started seeing it now with storage as some vendors charge for what is used”. But, he added, for utility computing to really take off, pricing models will have to change.