The Cost of UC Downtime

Achieving High Availability in UC

What does it cost your business when your unified communications system goes down? The obvious impact of the outage is easy to calculate – lost business and delays in customer service. But what about the less obvious costs? What’s needed to fix the outage, including man hours spent tracking down the reason for it? How much productivity is lost when workers lose communication and collaboration capabilities? How many opportunities are lost?

Discovering the true cost of a unified communications system failure should be a factor when it comes time to decide between UC solutions: cloud, on-premise, or hybrid. Can your business operate on personal email and cell phones for a business hour? Two hours? A day?

Direct Costs

What’s the outlay of cash to fix the outage— including provider or consultant charges that may arise? This cost is easy to calculate. If nothing else, you’ll probably be able to start with a bill.

 Indirect Costs

These are more difficult to calculate: IT staff time involved in solving the outage, including possible overtime. How much time was spent focusing on the outage – its resolution and cause? What would IT have been working on? This is part of lost productivity – harder to calculate, but significant and not to be overlooked. An accurate calculation of lost productivity will frequently provide all the justification necessary to invest in a more reliable system.

Opportunity CostWhat is the cost of a UC outage?

More difficult still is attempting to calculate the cost of lost opportunity in your analysis. In today’s rapid marketplace, 60% of customers reach a purchasing decision before contacting you. Will a customer be patient and wait until you’re available, or just move to their second competitive option? What is the value of that first impression? Will UC outages impact your market share? Your customer loyalty? Your reputation?

Cost Categories


Hopefully the first alert will not be finding yourself disconnected on an important call. Do you pay the cost of system monitoring or does your provider? Who pays to fully research the extent of the outage and its cause?


Outages have a domino effect. One outage may start another outage or cause an existing outage to worsen. What is the cost of limiting the damage and maintaining business continuity?


What resources, including IT staff, are required to restore the UC systems and networks?

Post Recovery

What are the costs of informing customers about the outage? How do you inform them? What is the plan to prevent a repeat?

New or Replacement Hardware/Software

Replacement servers, new infrastructure, new licensing fees – what is the cost of a system upgrade? What would be the cost of a complete system replacement?

IT Staff

IT labor will be expended during and after a UC outage. This labor expenditure will interfere with ongoing projects. Delayed projects also have a cost impact.

User Productivity Loss

Staff downtime, and any overtime needed to make up for that downtime, should be calculated for a comprehensive analysis.

Third Party Expenses

What is the expense of engaging outside services to fix the outage and provide a resolution for the outage cause? In regulated industries, those costs are typically incurred by independent third parties.

Lost Revenue

What is the total revenue loss from customers, and potential customers, during the outage period?

Business Disruption

Place a value on business continuity. What is the estimated cost of the outage when you consider reputation damages, customer churn, and lost business opportunities?

Cloud UC solutions shift most of these costs to your unified communications provider. Perhaps more importantly, business cloud communications services can provide you with a team of experts who specialize in UC together with a robust infrastructure designed to ensure business continuity to a degree that few individual businesses can match. All at a fraction of the on-premise cost. Learn more at

Download our free white paper on Achieving High Availability in UC to learn more about system reliability, availability, and who is responsible for what components in different UC deployment options: cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid solution.