Three tips on how to avoid unnecessary downtime

How to reduce IT downtime this Christmas

Alan Watson, MD of IT service provider Barron McCann, talks about how retailers can avoid unnecessary IT downtime over the busy Christmas period.

Chirstmas can be the most vital time of the year for many businesses, and can either be highly profitable, or highly damaging, depending on their success over the season.

Research shows that every minute of POS downtime costs a large chain retailer approximately £2,800, and that one third of all customers will leave a queue after a wait of more than five minutes.

Here are some useful tips that are often overlooked by businesses:

1. Review all hardware ahead of time
By performing simple checks on both in-use and spare/overflow hardware, the risk of anything going wrong at a later date is greatly reduced.

Provided these checks are performed far enough in advance, this allows for any damaged or high failing hardware to be upgraded or replaced before the peak period begins.

2. Train temp staff
Temporary Christmas staff are an essential resource for many businesses to help ease the stress that the period brings.

While these team members are essential for many businesses to cope with the increase in customers over the winter months, they will not necessarily be familiar with the hardware that they will be required to use.

Human error is one of the major causes of hardware failures within businesses, and improperly training new staff greatly increases the threat of equipment being damaged.

3. Check your IT maintenance and repair cover
It is worth communicating regularly with your IT supplier to answer any questions you might have about their operation over the Christmas period. It can be very useful to find out if they stock additional spares over the season to account for the increased demand, if they are aware of any events that may reduce their ability to get to reach the business, or if there will be any increase in the field engineering workforce over the period.

If their answers do not meet the requirements you are looking for, it may be worth challenging their practices, or even looking to change your supplier altogether.

By ensuring IT support is available throughout the Christmas season, businesses can be confident that they will have a vital safety net, should anything happen to go wrong.

To ensure all areas are covered, businesses can download the full version of Barron McCann’s free Christmas Checklist by visiting

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