Downtime is the number one cause of financial harm yet most IT leaders don't understand the signs and symptoms of an environment that has too many. Although it's easy to surmise that the systems are offline more than they should be especially when management is enraged but there are legitimate signs and symptoms which will allow you to reduce the frequency and impact of unplanned outages.
Man or machine? A study by Gartner concluded that 80% of unplanned downtime incidents are caused by people and are usually rooted in the change management area. The IT leader's most important function is the ability to implement continual change which is the reason it is critical that change management is management sanctioned - i.e. the backbone of every IT department's culture.
Although humans are well trained in technology, they are not trained very well in processes. Unfortunately, most companies processes are weak. In addition, people naturally like to take short cuts. When the short cut habits are combined with a poor change management culture, unplanned outages occur frequently. These types of "Cowboy" cultures are the high powered IT leader's worst nightmare. Getting a grip on change management and following standard operating procedures are the first areas they focus in on as "new" IT Director.