Removing Barriers and Delays from the Technical Implementation Process: What Your Data Center Provider Should be Offering
An Evolved Data Center Experience Starts with a Well-Defined Technical Implementation Process
The reasons for partnering with a data center provider, whether simply for colocation or for a full-scale hybrid IT solution complete with managed services, are all different. Yet, they share common denominators: improving operational efficiency and removing IT problems that negatively impact your internal team.
That process starts with a consultative sales approach where your service provider gives you options for delivering on the improvements you’re looking to achieve. But what should the experience look like after you’ve nailed down the solution that will best resolve your business challenges? Here’s a high-level overview of what a successful, transparent implementation process should include:
1. Order execution
Once you’ve worked with your chosen IT partner to build the appropriate solution, your sales representative will initiate the order. From there, orders should be routed for provisioning, dependent upon what type of solution or service you’ve chosen.
2. Assign to provisioning team member
Next, the department manager will review the order and assign it to the appropriate provisioning team member. That team member should take the order, register the necessary products, and become your POC through the implementations process.
3. Coordinate final details
At this stage, your POC should coordinate final details, any delivery dates that weren’t predetermined, and begin solution implementation.
4. Execute on implementation
Professional coordinators will manage all moving pieces between operations and facilities teams, communicate with different vendors to deliver the environment ordered, and manage due dates and expectations. Finally, the solution will pass through QA. Your solution will be handed off to your team, and the project will be closed out.
Beware of Process Without Planning
Before you select a data center vendor, make sure that their implementation process is a proven, repeatable, and well-documented methodology that executes on the above needs. But also be aware that the best implementation processes is worthless if there isn’t a plan to align it with the underlying infrastructure and services.
There are a number of obstacles that can accompany the implementation process when you entrust an IT partner with your technical project, and it’s why businesses are sometimes hesitant to trust an outside resource. Here are some of the things that cause problems in poorly planned, undocumented implementation methodologies:
- Delivery dates & staffing
- Availability of services
- Connections to different carriers
- Availability of power
- Speed and scalability
If you have aggressive demands for delivery from internal stakeholders, choose a partner who’s capable of ramping up staff and adjusting schedules for timing on delivery. Also look for infrastructure scalability. Data center providers have to be thinking ahead; growth happens quickly. Make sure service availability is consistent, and the appropriate range of connections to outside carriers is available. Ask about long-term power supply, as well. You should never have to worry about the potential for a facility to run out of power or resources. For instance, at DataBank, it’s common practice to begin construction on substations when capacity draws near in order to meet demand at an advanced pace.
“We always look to deliver projects as quickly as possible. That’s really what we’re doing as a team. We want to get our customer projects completed carefully, but quickly. We look at all windows of availability to deliver and beat expectations. That’s our goal.”
-Ron Driggs, Director of Provisioning, DataBank
Combine Process and Planning with the Right Attitude
Ultimately, implementation success will come from combining process and planning with the right mindset, and that’s what makes DataBank different when it comes to delivering on a project: we will stop at nothing to exceed expectations for delivery of services. We maintain strong, communicative relationships with vendors in every market and make every effort to reduce time to delivery intervals as much as possible. If it’s possible to move projects around to clear capacity with a vendor for a customer with greater urgency, we will. Implementation isn’t just about process, but exceeding expectations to build a lasting relationship. DataBank implementations are about earning a position as your ally.
In addition, DataBank either promotes from within, or seeks staff members with deep experience in the industry. Every specialist on the implementation team is required to have expertise on the nuts and bolts of what data centers offer, as well as strong communication and customer service skills; it’s not enough to be technical.
Ultimately, the goal is to initiate and complete the technical implementation for every customer without even creating awareness that it has taken place. Customers should enjoy a seamless, painless delivery, without the burden of having to understand every moving part or being pulled into coordination unnecessarily.
“Customers routinely give us positive feedback on our ability to ask the right questions. If there’s an order change, our team has experience outside of provisioning, and they know what to look for should the need to upgrade or make power changes arise. We will lead them in the right direction and adjust accordingly in a way that will benefit them most, and they see that.”
-Ron Driggs, Director of Provisioning, DataBank