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10 Steps to Creating an Implementable Data Center Strategy

Data-center

As businesses continue to move forward in the Digital Age, data has become more than just an intangible asset – it now provides a competitive advantage when properly harnessed.

Analytics is revolutionizing the way businesses compete by making sense of Big Data – the massive amounts of structured and unstructured data they generate, gather, process and share on a daily basis.

When deciding to build or expand your company’s data centers, you need to have a comprehensive strategy that will cover the planning, implementation, and finishing stages of your build or expansion.

1. Determine your objective

Building, expanding, or migrating your data center entails a huge capital expenditure. What you want to accomplish needs to be clear as you’ll be spending a lot of your company’s resources.

Having defined objectives also allows you to clearly communicate the importance of the project to various stakeholders.

2. Identify the affected parties

Your data center affects many other departments within your organization. It is imperative to involve them at the very start of the project planning stage. This will help you understand how your data centers are being used by other departments and see other factors which you may not have considered.

3. Define your key metrics

Defining key metrics ensures that the success of your data center project can be measured objectively.

To define your key metrics, you’ll also need inputs from the other affected parties and departments to ensure that the project goes smoothly for the whole company and not just for your department. Listing the key metrics per stakeholder also helps align and clarify competing metrics and objectives.

4. Create a project team

Aside from the project proponent, it is important to have a project manager to coordinate with all stakeholders. But for a project as critical as a data center build, expansion, or outsourcing, it also helps to create a project team represented by each affected department of the company.

Having a project team also hastens the communication process as each department will have a point person in case the project manager needs additional information from the other departments.

5. Explore and review solutions

It’s important to explore different models to meet your objectives and metrics. For example, you can compare the pros and cons of building a data center in-house, leasing a data center, and employing colocation services.

Next, you can explore different solutions and service providers for each model. You can start by making a list of vendors. Then, you can shortlist by rating them and the solutions they offer based on your objectives and metrics.

In this step, it’s also important to create cost tables for each vendor and solution as this will help you stay within the budget set by your finance department.

6. Choose the best solution with the stakeholders

Discuss the results of your analyses and comparisons with your project team and make a recommendation on which model, solution, and vendor best fits your objectives and budget.

Finally, the project team should present its recommendations to the other stakeholders to make sure that all concerns are taken into consideration, encourage further discussions to uncover possible issues, and to reach a consensus on which model, solution, and vendor to choose.

7. Keep an eye on the latest trends and technology

Throughout the whole strategic process, the project team should continually keep an eye on what’s happening in the field of data and technology – even when the decision on which solution to choose has already been made. This will help ensure that your strategy always reflects the best and latest solutions.

8. Create an implementation schedule

Creating an implementation schedule starts with scoping. The biggest risk of involving other departments in your data center project is scope creep. Scope creep is one of the main reasons why data center projects fail or get delayed. It’s important to determine what the scope of the project is to ensure that you’re always focusing only on what’s important. To do this, it helps to always refer to your objectives and key metrics.

Break down the whole data center project into milestones—from securing a contract with the vendor to documenting the whole project. Then, further break down each milestone into actionable steps. This will give you a picture of how each milestone can actually be achieved. It also helps to determine who’s accountable for each step.

Finally, set timelines for each step and each milestone.

9. Deploy your strategy

Once you finish your implementation schedule, it’s time to put your data center strategy into action.

After every step or milestone, always compare your performance with your implementation schedule to see whether you are on track. Also, regularly check the results of your implementation with your objectives and metrics to make sure that you’re not missing out on anything that’s important to your project’s stakeholders.

10. Adjust your strategy

During the course of your implementation, you will encounter both opportunities and setbacks that you may not have previously considered. This is part of the whole process. It’s important to keep adjusting your data center strategy based on new, available information.

But always keep in mind the scope of your data center project and strategy. Any new information you consider should be relevant and within the scope of your project and strategy.

Conclusion

Harnessing Big Data can give your company the competitive advantage it needs to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with globalization. However, Big Data also requires upgraded data center storage, computing, and network capacities. It’s imperative that you build, lease, or outsource your data center to keep up with increased demands. When undertaking a data center project, it is essential to have the right strategy in place—a roadmap that will define your objective, identify your stakeholders, determine your key metrics, explore different options and solutions, and guide your implementation.

Create Your Data Center Strategy with Smart IMS

Smart IMS provides comprehensive, end-to-end data center setup services—from planning and implementation to complete setup. We provide a combination of onsite and offshore resources with cross-domain knowledge and experience in working on large and complex environments.

Our services include:
— Design & Strategy Services
— Configuration & Implementation Services
— Vendor Management Services
— Service Desk Support
— Project Planning
— Documentation

About Smart IMS

Smart IMS delivers IT applications, IT transformation services, and business process solutions that enable our clients around the world to gain competitive advantages. With years of extensive experience, our team of experts helps Fortune 500 companies to design and implement their IT projects.

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