Improving Visibility Between Teams When Decommissioning an Enterprise Data Center

As with any large organizational change initiative, decommissioning an enterprise data center requires input from across departments, functional areas, and levels of seniority. 

Unfortunately, many enterprises tend to underestimate the full size, scope, and scale of the project. They may skip key phases during the planning stage of the process and jump straight into the removal of the equipment without a clear strategy in place. But this increases the risk of data breaches, outages, regulatory fines, and lost revenue that can damage the long-term performance of the business.

Instead of diving into the deep end, enterprises can mitigate risk by taking a strategic lifecycle approach to technology. With time and budget allocated before the decommissioning work takes place, enterprises can assign key roles and responsibilities to the project, identify key interdependencies, and ensure there is visibility across teams throughout the project. 

This article will show how enterprises can avoid one of the most common pitfalls when decommissioning a data center. 

How a Lack of Internal Visibility Disrupts Decommissioning Projects

The IT department is not the only group that is involved in decommissioning a data center. Individuals, teams, and departments from across the organization all have various roles and responsibilities at different points throughout the project. While it’s natural for each group to be focused on the parts of the project that are most relevant to them, it’s also vital that they can communicate, collaborate, and share information as needed to ensure they are working toward a common goal. 

For example, the VP of Real Estate may spend most of their time ensuring the enterprise exits the space in line with the lease agreement. If the end-of-lease agreement specifies a certain date, they may find themselves under enormous pressure to rapidly remove equipment from the facility and avoid the additional fees or penalties that result from exceeding this deadline. 

At the same time, however, the Chief Information Security Officer is driven by a completely different set of requirements. Their job is to ensure that data is effectively backed up, migrated, secured, sanitized, or destroyed.

In some cases, these objectives may come into conflict. If the lease agreement is set to end before the data can be properly backed up, there is the potential for significant delays, budget overruns, and added complexity throughout the remainder of the project. 

There are many opportunities for these types of conflicts if teams do not have visibility into all aspects of the project. In smaller organizations with less staff, there may simply be a shortage of leaders that can take a wide view of the requirements and oversee the different groups. In larger organizations, a lack of collaboration may be due to departmental silos and a lack of communication between departments. A recent PWC survey found that 55 percent of companies operate in silos, with each function making its own decisions on which capabilities are most important.

This lack of collaboration has wide-ranging but very real costs. A 2018 survey found teams wasted more than 20 hours per month trying to overcome collaboration challenges. As a result, 54 percent stated they missed deadlines and 26 percent cited budget overruns associated with poor collaboration. 

Assign Roles Before the Project Begins

Taking a strategic lifecycle approach when decommissioning an enterprise data center can help to bring the right people into the project at the right times to ensure that everyone has visibility into each other’s requirements. 

During the planning phase, take the time to identify key project objectives, interdependencies, and performance metrics. As the strategy is developed, assign roles and responsibilities to project owners who can work to minimize any potential conflicts before they occur. 

With a more complete understanding of the project and a shared vision of success, everyone knows where they fit and how their work impacts the people around them. Teams should also know who to contact if they need input from other departments 

A trusted IT services partner can help to oversee and manage these groups while identifying granular details that may be overlooked if the team does not have experience with similar projects. 

Not only does this help to keep the project on track, but it also enhances the overall performance of the organization and ensures that leaders in different departments aren’t unintentionally working against each other. 

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