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Updated by Charles Bystock on 07/17/2014

data-center-consultant_(1)You’ve been advised by your colleagues to hire a data center consultant. Or perhaps you’ve recommended to your CEO and CFO that they approve bringing in a consultant to help you contemplate your data center’s future. The question on everyone’s mind is: does a data center consultant really solve anything? Advice is only good if it has actionable value.

Sometimes, you don’t want a consultant to “solve” anything.

Sometimes you simply want an independent review, some suggestions, to bounce a few ideas off a data center consultant because they see things from a different perspective.

They can help you make sure you’re thinking clearly, with all the data in hand, because no one can adequately solve problems if they’re missing pertinent information. They can help assess your current data center operations and financials and help you build a business case that provides a solid foundation for decision-making.

A data center consultant can help you fine-tune your existing operations, whether you’re looking to streamline internal processes, revamp your governance protocols and procedures or renegotiate a contract to reduce costs or motivate higher performance from your provider.

They can also give single-subject advice. Many enterprises look to a data center consultant to help craft a new disaster recovery plan that takes advantage of offsite and cloud-based alternatives. This does, indeed, solve something – you can achieve more reliable response and compliance, at a significantly lower cost.

Bringing in a data center consultant can solve some subtle problems.

You thought you knew exactly what assistance you needed when you asked for outside advice, but in working with your consultant you’ll probably discover they have more to offer than you expected. Regardless of the depth and breadth of expertise within your own IT department, this new learning can have extraordinary value in helping you solve future problems.

Consultants bring an unbiased view of your operation. Their thinking isn’t colored by politics or personalities that all too often derail corporate planning or drive implementation efforts off course.

And they can smoothly bridge the gap between IT managers and the C-suite, if that’s an issue for your company, because they speak “business” as well as “technology.” Without active top-level approval and commitment, you’ll never solve anything. Instead, you’ll remain mired in frustration, falling behind the competition rather than leading the way.

Solutions are more complex than ever before.

That’s a good thing, actually, because that complexity is the result of vastly expanding alternatives. Rather than trying to apply the traditional one-size-fits-all solution to your enterprise – an effort guaranteed to work poorly if at all – you can now design solutions that are as individual as your company.

The trend toward hybridization can be a boon for IT departments, but it means you need a data center consultant more than ever. They know what options are available in terms of infrastructure and vendors, so they can make individually targeted recommendations. With their help, you can build solutions perfectly tailored to your corporate needs and goals.

Solutions are temporary.

We used to think of any “solution” as a decision-making destination. Once you had that in place, you could move on to something else. But that’s not the case any more.

Technology has become temporary by nature, and with ongoing change a given, what’s just-right this year may be woefully inadequate in three or four years. Solutions have to be expandable, allowing you to scale up or down quickly to meet project-specific requirements and support ongoing operations as your company grows and changes.  

The opportunities among IT alternatives are greater than ever, but sometimes you need fresh eyes to see them. A data center consultant has those fresh eyes and the know-how to help you put those opportunities to work so they have actionable value.