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5 Questions To Ask Before Outsourcing Your Data Center

Dec 27, 2012 11:04:00 AM

by Charles Bystock

5 Questions To Ask Before Outsourcing Your Data CenterYou’ve assessed your current IT infrastructure. You’ve compared existing capabilities to long-term corporate goals as well as IT-specific objectives targeted toward those goals, so you know where you stand. You want to make some changes and you need to reduce costs, and it appears outsourcing your data center can help do both.

Now it’s time to delve deeper. Here are five questions to ask before outsourcing your data center:

1. Can we remain flexible?

Your needs are complex. But without flexibility your company can’t stay on its toes. In today’s global business environment, you need to be always ready to nab opportunities afforded by evolving technologies or rapidly changing markets.

Equally important, flexibility covers your backside when the inevitable problems hit. Quick, effective recovery, whether from an isolated incident or a full-blown natural disaster, is critical. The longer you’re down or impaired, the more business you could lose. And customers that have to go elsewhere to get what they need may not return.

Deal-based data center acquisition is one way to improve your disaster recovery preparation while lowering operating expenses.

2. What about reliability? 

Flexibility and reliability go hand-in-hand. Change is a constant in some ways, but the one thing you can’t allow to fluctuate is your ability to provide the highest service levels and quality.

So ask about across-the-board reliability that goes beyond disaster recovery to the heart of daily operations. You should expect near-perfect up time, because your ability to function smoothly and consistently – throughout your enterprise, day in and day out -- defines your reputation and sharpens your competitive edge

3. How do we develop a budget?

Outsourcing your data center is like the proverbial three-legged stool. You have to consider the financial, technical and administrative ramifications. And while it’s vital to capture savings wherever possible, your budget has to be realistic – reflecting current needs but also supporting goals and growth.

So make a list of every budget detail associated directly or indirectly with current data center operation. That way you can accurately compare projected costs of outsourcing. If you miss something you’ll either have to do without or accept it as an additional “unplanned” expense.

4. How do we choose the best solution?

What works for you will depend on your unique near- and long-term requirements. Solutions can range from wholesale migration of all your global data centers and enterprise applications to retaining some management activities in-house. If you elect the latter arrangement, new solutions can enhance support for those infrastructure silos.

Expert guidance can streamline your decision-making process and ensure you end up with the most strategic solution. An IT infrastructure consulting firm brings you an entire team equipped with hands-on management and IT experience working with companies like yours. They understand your pressure points and how things work in real life.

5. How do we choose the best provider?

Your IT consultants can help you find the right outsourcing partner, too. Using their up-to-date, detailed knowledge of potential providers they’ll help you develop the a list of functional and financial questions to thoroughly compare strengths and weaknesses. They know the right provider has to match your current service levels but also be capable of meeting your needs in the future.

Outsourcing your data center should result in a solution that fits like a custom-tailored suit. And why not? Your entire company will have to wear that solution day in and day out for a long time. The best fit will assure your team can work comfortably and your company will enjoy the best return on your investment.

Photo Credit: Boetter

Data Center Outsourcing

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