Is there a single skill that makes a data center consultant an expert? Of course not. It takes a lengthy list of specialized skills and experience to make someone a true expert in any subject. The question is, though, what one of those skills makes a data center consultant your expert -- the right choice to provide the help you need?
That depends on you as much as the expert consultant in question.
What kind of help do you need from a data center consultant?
Are you planning to build a new data center facility? Or are you trying to figure out how to get rid of one or more of your data centers? Are you looking to lower power or labor expenses, increase workload efficiency, deliver services in new and different ways? Or are you looking for assistance in determining just what you do need?
You need a data center consultant that has skills and pertinent hands-on experience that match your project and also your corporate culture and personality. You’re looking for a new team member, essentially, so you have to think holistically to find the right fit.
Your expert has to be a good listener. They can’t give you good advice or recommendations if they don’t clearly understand your expectations and the challenges you face – both the obvious ones and the issues that can lurk below the surface in many companies.
And your expert has to be a strategic planner. Holistic thinking extends to assessing your current status and exploring potential solution alternatives, not just to finding the right consultant.
Financial skill is critical.
The most valuable expert for your enterprise will be a consultant who is budget-conscious in every regard. There’s no point in racking up an overly large bill on consulting as you’re working to devise ways to save or better optimize your current spending.
Your consultant should have a keen eye for total -- as in all-inclusive -- cost of ownership, to help you develop a true picture of your current situation so you can accurately compare possible data center changes.
Schmoozing skill is critical.
You may not think of it as “schmoozing,” but here’s the issue: not every consultant has the ability to speak the language of everyone in your enterprise, but you need a data center consultant who can do that. Your data center(s) impact everything your enterprise does – how and how well you’re able to conduct your business and interact with employees and customers. It’s all interrelated.
Your data centers have stakeholders in the C-suite, the accounting, operations and technical departments as well as facilities managers, sales, and others, whether they’re directly involved in managing your IT or their ability to do their jobs depends reliable delivery of IT services. Any change you decide to adopt has to receive overt support across the board, or your implementation efforts could be ignored or, worse, sabotaged by recalcitrant or fearful employees.
The right consultant can relate to the needs and desires of all your constituents, and they can help you find ways to address everyone’s concerns and objectives in a positive manner. A consultant who has senior level business management experience as well as IT expertise is far more likely to be that kind of expert.
Is vision a skill? It’s certainly essential.
No matter why you want to enlist the services of a data center consultant, the results of your project should support your company’s long-term goals. Decisions you make about data centers must have lasting value – at least as far as you can determine that, given the fluidity of today’s working environment.
This requires the best possible understanding of the latest trends, emerging or still-on-the-drawing-board innovations or approaches to service delivery that could become important to your enterprise in the future.
Ultimately, the one skill that makes a data center consultant your expert is good fit.