People and Processes Cause Most Major IT Problems

Hardware and software not the root cause.

People and processes -- not hardware and software -- are at the core of what's causing most large IT problems according to a Microsoft Services internal poll.

Simon Hall, an operations consultant at Microsoft Premier Support UK isn't surprised by the result, he says in a blog post. Software and hardware problems were less of an issue in the poll.

The finding does have one interesting consequence: "We saw that 80% of all downtime had the underlying root cause attributed to People and Process issues," Hall explained in the blog. "That means that 80% of all the Critical Issues our customers faced were wholly preventable."

This "it's you, not us" operator error explanation might be subject to debate, but subscribers to Microsoft's enterprise support services likely have little time to care. They pay for on-site support and 24x7 access to Microsoft's technical account manager specialists. It's a step up from the more limited Web site and call support offered by Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing option.

The poll also describes process issues as problematic. The Microsoft Premier team is flexible in that regard, supporting both ITIL and MOF approaches, according to the blog.

Microsoft Services Premier Support has four plans that vary according to a matrix listed here. Premier Foundation is the entry-level service offering with 24x7 and on-site support. Premiere Standard, Premier Plus, and Premier Ultimate offer increasing levels of service access and greater proactive support from Microsoft.

Microsoft's total support organization consists of an Enterprise Services team and a Customer Support Services team. Support is provided across 88 countries by about 9,720 IT professionals, according to Microsoft's stats. About 4,500 of these employees are support engineers.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.