The costs, causes and repercussions of unplanned systems downtime are triggering investment in digital tools and field service management, according to a recent study by research firm Vanson Bourne.

The report, sponsored by ServiceMax, a unit of GE Digital that provides field service management products, found that 82 percent of companies have experienced at least one unplanned downtime outage over the past three years. These outages lasted an average of four hours.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 450 IT and field service decision makers from the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany online in July and August 2017. A majority (70 percent) said they lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.

About two thirds (65 percent) of respondents from the energy and utilities sector, and 62 percent from the medical sector, cited losing customers’ trust as a possible impact of suffering a high-profile incident or disaster.

The study found that production and productivity, IT, and customer service are hit hardest by unplanned downtime, with damaging repercussions for businesses as a whole. It also revealed the extent to which businesses are investing in digital tools and field service management solutions.

Eighty percent of companies recognize that digital tools can eliminate unplanned downtime, and zero unplanned downtime is now the number one or high priority for 72 percent of the organizations surveyed.

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