Rob O’Neill’s front page story on today’s Computerworld draws on research by US-based Objectwatch saying the total cost of IT failure in New Zealand is $5.4 billion a year. The story is not online at the time of writing.

Objectwatch’s CTO, Roger Sessions calculated the cost globally, for the US and for New Zealand saying the number includes the indirect costs as well as direct costs.

The number seems unusually large for two reasons:

  • First. For a country with around 4.3 million people Sessions’ waste amounts to around $1280 per person or roughly three percent of GDP* – in plain English that means IT failure wastes one out of every 20 dollars earned in New Zealand.
  • Second. According to IDC numbers in a press release issued in August New Zealand’s total IT market was worth $5,911 million in 2008 and is growing at 3.6 percent. So Sessions’ statement could be interpreted as saying the money spent on IT is wasted.

On this basis we’d be better offer dumping computers and switching back to trusty old adding machines.

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