UK financial firms are paying for their reliance on home-grown software with colossal downtime and support costs.

Software faults on home-grown applications, which often make up at least half the software inventory, routinely cost UK financial firms $10,000 an hour, according to a survey sponsored by applications management company Managed Objects.

Ironically, it’s these home-grown applications that give financial companies their competitive edge, but the pay-off is they need many support staff to prop them up. Over half of the companies surveyed said it took six people to administer such software, while 38% needed at least 15.

Sean Larner, president of Managed Objects EMEA, said this is the downside of finance firms being so far ahead of the technology curve. Our research shows that much of the home-grown software used by these companies is so advanced and complex, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, he said.

Making changes to applications was identified by some respondents as the cause of up to a quarter of all outages. As some companies made 50 application changes a week and many said they took more than an hour to fix, this presented a potentially costly problem. The failure of most automation packages to deal with custom software only made the situation worse.

Almost three in four firms experienced outages that damaged the business in the past year, while nearly a quarter had coped with six such problems.