What Is Engineer, Furnish, and Install, and When Do Enterprises Need It?

The enterprise data center is vital to the long-term success of the business. While it is often behind the scenes, the data center directly or indirectly affects nearly all departments, teams, and customers in some way. 

A well-designed, well-built, and well-maintained data center ensures an enterprise can achieve its strategic objectives. But if you’ve ever stumbled into a mass of tangled cables, dusty racks, or plugs dangling from the ceiling, then you know that not every enterprise is getting the most return out of its investment in technology.

This article will introduce and define engineer, furnish, and install (EF&I) services as they relate to the enterprise data center, before suggesting when enterprises should look to engage with a trusted EF&I services partner for their next data center fit-out project.

What is Engineer, Furnish, and Install?

Engineer, furnish, and install is a term that has been gradually borrowed from the telecom industry to apply to co-location or on-premises data centers. It refers to the engineering and design of the data center, the furnishing and procurement of the IT and critical infrastructure, and the installation and deployment of the equipment in the facility.

These stages are typically completed sequentially, with installation following the procurement of equipment based on the design of the data center.

That said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for all organizations. Each phase requires specialized expertise, and not all stages have to be completed by the same team. An enterprise with an existing procurement department, for example, may turn to a partner for the design and deployment while keeping the purchasing in-house. Conversely, an organization with a large network team may have the resources to install the equipment but need help procuring the right gear.

4 Signs You Need EF&I Services

Regardless of the approach, most enterprises will not have the in-house skills required to take on an EF&I project. And even if they do, there are significant opportunity costs associated with having highly paid IT staff drawn away from their day-to-day roles for such a large project.

To get the most out of your partner, it’s always best to engage with them as early in the project as possible. This way, you can work together to come up with a strategy and develop a clear vision before work on the fit-out begins.

  • Technology Refresh

Properly maintained and upgraded, a data center typically has a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years. But the IT and critical infrastructure needs to be refreshed more frequently. Only 52 percent of enterprises kept servers in operation for more than five years, and, eventually, technology refreshes are necessary to keep up with evolving performance requirements. When it’s clear that new equipment is needed, an EF&I services partner can help to integrate with existing technology and mitigate the risk of an unexpected issue.

  • Data Center Decommissioning and Migration

Changing performance requirements, a shift in real estate strategy, or a move to the cloud – there are many reasons an enterprise may consolidate or decommission existing on-premises or co-location data centers. But unless you are winding down operations entirely, the applications, data, workloads, and resources supported by the existing data center will need to be migrated.

Before going in and tearing out equipment, an EF&I services partner can help plan for the migration and limit the impact on ongoing operations. 

  • New Product or Service Launch 

A new product launch is often time sensitive and critically important to get right. Failing to meet customer expectations can quickly result in lost revenue, reputational damage, and disappointed customers that may decide to look elsewhere.

An effective EF&I strategy ensures enterprises have the performance, capabilities, and functionality needed to support the new product and deliver an exceptional experience from day one.

  • Expanded Capacity

Nearly half of all enterprises plan to build a new data center in the next 12-36 months. As the organization evolves, the ability to scale resources ensures that technology is enabling business performance rather than hindering it. 

When it becomes clear that your current infrastructure is no longer up to the task, an experienced EF&I services partner can help you upgrade and fit out new technology that delivers the level of performance needed for the future. 

Achieving Better Results With Data Center EF&I

The IT and critical infrastructure that you deploy in the data center will drive the business forward and deliver better performance to both customers and employees.

But technology, on its own, is not enough. Enterprises should always take the time upfront to develop a plan, articulate a shared vision of success, and determine the key strategic outcomes of the project.

A trusted EF&I services partner that brings life cycle expertise to the entire data center can guide you through each step in the project, strengthen your internal IT team, and help you avoid the common pitfalls and challenges that come with complex data center fit-out projects. 

The result? A more focused project that delivers on its promises and positions your business for long-term success.

Want to learn more about data center EF&I? Download our recent white paper – Top 5 Considerations When Choosing a Data Center Provider

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