Getting the Most Out of Your IT Services Partner on Your Next Data Center Project

Technology is vital to the day-to-day success of nearly all organizations. Enterprises rely on the applications, services, and data contained in the data center, while new technologies and performance requirements are driving organizations to evaluate how their IT environments move them closer to their business goals.

However, a shortage of skilled and experienced IT talent has made it difficult for many enterprises to find in-house staff needed for larger, more complex technology projects. With internal teams focused on keeping the lights on, it can be difficult to engage in new projects that might take hundreds of hours and involve multiple departments and groups. 

Rather than drawing on limited internal resources, enterprises can instead choose to work with a trusted data center services provider. By elevating the strength of internal IT departments, enterprises can acquire the skills, experience, and expertise needed to not only complete a specific project but also to find new opportunities to enhance performance over the long term. 

Talent Scarcity and the Struggle to Find Skilled IT Staff

Most organizations have built their in-house IT departments around the needs of the business. And unless they are regularly engaging in complex technology projects, such as a data center decommissioning or a migration to a new environment, they likely don’t have a team of experts already on staff to dedicate to these projects.

Finding skilled IT talent is a challenge enterprises face across industries. A recent survey found that 73 percent of data center leaders reported difficulties recruiting personnel, while a recent McKinsey report found that 80 percent of tech leaders said that finding the right talent was the greatest challenge they faced.  

The shortage of IT talent can have significant consequences. For example, an enterprise that attempts to build out its own greenfield data center may run into delays and budget overruns, higher incidents of failure, difficulty implementing new upgrades, or a lack of documentation and records. Without the right skills, the overall performance of the business suffers. 

A trusted IT services partner can elevate the strength of the internal IT department and provide the skills, experience, and expertise needed to successfully complete large and complex IT projects.

So, what should enterprises look for when choosing a data center services partner?

  • Proven Certifications and Experience 

A quick Google search will come back with countless results for companies that claim to be certified experts. Terms like “certified data destruction”, “certified data protection”, and “certified IT asset disposition (ITAD)”, among others, are commonly used to increase credibility and perceived expertise. 

The truth is, however, it’s often very difficult to verify these claims because there are no single certifications, regulations, or laws at the federal level in the U.S. When it comes to data destruction, for example, there is a myriad of federal and state regulations, not all of which are relevant or achievable in an enterprise context. 

When choosing a partner, carefully scrutinize their credentials and their experience with similar projects. Ask about things like insurance coverage, data breach notification policies, chain of custody reports, and the scope of the contract. A relationship should be built on trust, so ensure that you know your partner and the full range of their capabilities. 

  • Deep Understanding of the Business Requirements

Many data center services providers have expertise in the technology or specific service they offer. An ITAD firm, for example, will likely know how to remove the equipment from the data center, recycle the components, and resell the assets that have recoverable value. But they may not understand the larger context or the business reasons for decommissioning the data center in the first place.

Enterprises should engage with a partner that understands both the technology and the strategic needs of the business. During the planning phase, the partner can ask more detailed questions and arrive at a stronger approach. They’ll also be in a better position to identify any potential risks, challenges, or pitfalls that may not be evident without a full picture of the project. By knowing the move-out date on the end-of-lease agreement, for example, they’ll be able to develop an accurate project schedule that reduces the risk of penalties or additional fees paid to the leaseholder. 

  • Holistic, Lifecycle Approach to Technology

It’s one thing to work with an data center services partner on a specific project. They come in, get the job done, and move on to the next client. And in some cases, that may be enough. But complex and strategically important projects often require ongoing relationships with a trusted, long-term partner. 

Just as a partner should understand the needs of the business, they should also understand the overall context and how a particular technology fits into the larger system. Data centers are complex, and there are countless interdependencies and interconnections that require a process-driven approach and a deep understanding of the full environment. 

A lifecycle IT services partner can take a holistic view to ensure technology is moving the business forward. Over time, they’ll get to know the IT team, technology, and strategic objectives of the enterprise, allowing them to identify potential improvements or opportunities to build out new capabilities. In the best case, they’ll become an extension of the in-house IT department, adding value that strengthens the overall performance of the business. 

Elevate the Strength of Your IT Team

The IT department plays an increasingly important role in the success of the business. But with a shortage of skilled IT talent needed for specialized projects, most enterprises do not have the ability to hire full-time employees or take in-house staff away from their regular work.

In these cases, a trusted data center services partner can elevate the strength of the IT department and take a holistic approach to large and complex technology projects. By working together, enterprises can mitigate risk, identify potential challenges, and move the business toward its strategic objectives. 

To learn more about the benefits of a strategic lifecycle approach to technology, download our recent white paper – A Strategic Approach to Decommissioning the Data Center

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