Data center operations for colocation providers differ fundamentally from enterprise IT operations – however, the process for implementing a DCIM solution is correlative. Data center expert Soeren Schroeder believes it depends more on the company’s culture rather than how the software is used. To verify his point of view, he shares his best practices on how to implement a proper solution for colocation provider across multiple sites.
There are lots of rumors saying implementing a new DCIM solution is too complex and costly, as it often touches a broad range of people, processes, and departments such as IT, facilities, and management. For colocation providers, it also includes sales, marketing, and customer service departments. To streamline the process, there are simple strategies for companies to follow.
First, companies must have a clear vision of what to expect and which features are needed to support their business model. Specifically, what are you trying to achieve? This has been discussed at length in my previous blog post on “10 Stepping Stones to a Successful DCIM Adoption,” which clearly defines the overall objectives prior to selecting a DCIM tool. Defining a precise target will be the first, but most important, step before thinking about which DCIM tool aligns best with organizational goals and operating procedures to ensure a smooth migration.
Engage Before You Start
Now that you have decided to select a DCIM tool, how can you get all relevant stakeholders involved without creating an endless discussion?
To create a sense of unity among companies with a global presence, it is helpful to create a committee of stakeholders compiled of representatives from various departments and locations. Select representatives from individual departments ranging from core facilities management, implementation management, sales, marketing, and customer service, who will be responsible for determining business-critical processes and selecting appropriate DCIM tools. With that team of experts in place, each and every department will be fully engaged in the following implementation process.
Conduct Weekly Meetings
Hold regular weekly meetings with your committee of stakeholders to discuss business processes, priorities, needs, and expectations. Each department representative must to be involved in order to gain full clarity on why, when and how a DCIM will be implemented.
It is also crucial to stick with the desired benefits and outcomes of a using DCIM tool you defined at the beginning of the project. Changing some of the objectives means consequently to dramatically change the requirements for the tool your business needs.
Additionally, each stakeholder must share the same vision as it supports the implementation to run smoothly. When a vision is shared throughout an entire company, employees are empowered and are more apt to work together towards a cohesive end goal.
Make a Final Decision – And Stick With It
When it’s time to put a vision into action, decisions must be final. All stakeholders must come to a unified agreement and make educated decisions based on what specific use cases, business challenges, and processes will be supported by the DCIM solution. The most important, and perhaps the most difficult part of the decision making process is confidence. Confidence in choosing the right DCIM tool is necessary to make sure implementation is completed quickly and efficiently.
Hesitation and uncertainty wastes time and money. Therefore, once the stakeholder committee makes a final decision, turning back is not an option.
Provide Hands-On Training
The easiest way to learn a new DCIM is through hands-on training based on real life use-cases. In doing so, employees have the opportunity to learn about processes as well as products firsthand.
Auditing power management issues and capacity planning before implementation allows stakeholders to forecast and manage business-critical issues that need to be addressed with the new DCIM tool. Next, employees should test this tool accordingly. Participating in process-oriented training is recommended as it reflects activities that occur in the process of achieving the long term goal.
In summary, the best-run data centers are comprised of managers who have accurate and extensive knowledge of how to best utilize them. If employed effectively, DCIM tools can provide valuable cost savings and accelerate operational processes. For colocation providers in particular, they will have the opportunity to offer value-add services to their customers and thereby achieve a substantial differentiation against competitors.
About Soeren Schroeder
Soeren is an enthusiastic DC expert with extensive experience in this business. He is passionate about translating business requirements into IT capabilities, making everybody understand their role in the bigger picture and appreciate the value of others.
Soeren just finished a successful project with Colt Technology Services and helped to implement a complete DCIM solution at 29 sites in Europe and Asia within 6 months.
About FNT’s DCIM solution
The FNT solution for colocation providers offers a holistic approach to the management of all relevant resources in a location independent, web-based system. The management software offers space, power, and cooling management for colocation data centers across multiple sites in conjunction with planning capabilities, customer contracts, and assigned secondary information.
Want to learn more about FNT’s DCIM solution?