As part of my work in the IT research space, we once did a survey in which we asked application managers how they become aware of performance issues in their systems. The leading method, cited by 85 percent, was through phone calls or messages from their end users.

So, IT is doing a stellar job in automating any and all functions up and down the insurance value chain – from policy underwriting to content management. But there’s one last frontier on the automation scene – IT itself.

Aside from the business costs of end-user and customer frustration with under-performing sites, there’s an internal, operational cost as well to manually run and integrated systems. A new survey of 400 IT professionals by TeamQuest bears this out: On average IT managers deal with eight unexpected IT issues per week. Each issue requires at least seven staff members to resolve.

Granted, the survey’s sponsor, TeamQuest, is in the IT service management business. Still, it’s significant that so many IT employees get sucked up into the issues that crop up on a daily basis in data centers. If a total of seven IT employees are involved in doing nothing but fighting fires each week, that comes to $455,000 a year, assuming the average annual compensation for each, including benefits, is at least $65,000.

Their time could be put to much better use. Such as working on mobile apps, building analytics platforms, or focusing on their companies’ digital presence.

But, according to the TeamQuest survey, they are instead getting caught up in root-cause analysis and fixing network slowdowns or outages (42 percent), poor performing applications (37 percent), availability issues (37 percent), equipment failures (36 percent), and unanticipated change requests (34 percent)

These problems will never go away, of course, as long as there are computers in enterprises. But there are management tools that introduce automated management, as well as analytics to determine the most likely scenarios and causes of slowdowns and outages, and even introduce self-healing algorithms to networks and systems. IT environments are only getting more complicated, and thus more difficult to be fixed by manual intervention. IT has been doing a good job of taking manual drudgework out of everybody else’s departments – time to apply it to their own.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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