Almost all (95 percent) of IT managers in the UK’s leading organisations spend time searching for the origin of operational IT problems. And nearly half (49 percent) admit that IT is suffering due to a lack of visibility of the entire IT system.

New research commissioned by Avanade, the global Microsoft IT consultancy for the platform and undertaken by Coleman Parkes found that, even though 83 percent of the IT and operations managers questioned know the number of PCs and servers in their IT estate, the vast majority still have to spend time searching to find where problems occur across their systems. The main effects of this extended problem resolution time were stated as ‘negative impact on support quality’ and ‘increased risk of critical IT failure’.

“Results indicated that only 51 percent of enterprises map dependencies between their IT systems, which would suggest that a large number are not recorded correctly,” said Brent Kronenberg, Avanade Enterprise Service Solutions director.

Over half (57 percent) of respondents cited ‘poor inventory’ as a key factor behind the extended time needed to search for IT issues in a system. “If systems are not fully mapped and integrated it’s no wonder the origin of the problem is unclear when issues arise,” added Kronenberg. “If changes and additions are made to unmapped systems, gaps arise and the impact is felt across the company – the problem spirals out of control. Essentially, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what you have or where to look.”

Paying lip service to mapping system dependencies is one thing, but implementing, tracking and maintaining the project is another, Kronenberg believes.

He advised that having a solid acceptance process, which covers things like updating documentation, configuring records when moving systems into production or for making changes, will help to mitigate discovery issues when fixing IT problems.