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Updated by Charles Bystock on 10/16/2014

help_outsourcing_data_centerData center outsourcing is a complex proposition. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you.

Talk to colleagues who’ve been there.

Individuals you know well in other companies and your LinkedIn connections and groups can offer advice and insight based on their personal experience with the outsourcing process as well as referrals to providers they chose or were also impressed with.

You could ask data center outsourcing providers for help.

But you may not get the most unbiased recommendations. Naturally they will want to promote their own solutions or services, but there can be value in seeing things from their standpoint because you will have to develop a successful working relationship with whomever you choose.

Since you’ll need to evaluate them anyway before making a final decision, asking questions to get help early in your decision-making process will give you a good idea how they think as well as what they can do for you.

Use industry resources.

There’s no shortage of reading material on the internet, through industry trade associations and recognized thought leaders. And even if you don’t reach out to potential providers personally, many have produced whitepapers and other documents you can access to learn more about their products and their point of view.

Consult a data center outsourcing advisory firm.

Arming yourself with foundational information helps you see the overall outsourcing landscape, understand current trends and best practices and emerging issues. But unless you have significant time to devote to this rather steep learning curve, consulting a professional advisory will get you headed in the best direction faster.

You already have your hands full keeping things on an even keel with your enterprise IT and trying to stay ahead of potential problems that could interrupt service and slow productivity. And it’s almost impossible to keep up with the myriad changes in the IT outsourcing marketplace – new solution options and configurations, new thinking on what’s going to be most crucial for a secure, profitable future and what types of providers are out there.  

Reading about it isn’t enough. You need the kind of advice that can only come from someone who is fully conversant with the data center outsourcing world and also fully conversant with broad-scope business management, because the only kind of “help” that will benefit you requires comprehensive understanding of your enterprise and IT’s pivotal role in ensuring your future capabilities.

Your advisory can provide “proof of concept” regarding your chosen solution(s). Is this the right type and amount of change for your enterprise now? Will it provide what you need later, at optimum cost? Does it assure you the flexibility to reach short-term corporate goals as well as the scalability you’ll need to achieve long-term goals? In other words, have you made the most salient choices so far?

They’ll undoubtedly ask to see the assessment you used to build your business case. No matter how diligent you were in preparing it, there’s a chance you’ve overlooked hidden costs or other indirect factors that can skew your thinking if you don’t account for them. If you don’t have a current assessment and formally-constructed business case in hand, your advisory will want to start there.

Data center outsourcing alternatives each offer different strengths, limitations and working styles. Your advisors can help weed out non-starters right away so you can focus on evaluating the most viable candidates. They’ll help you ask the right questions and negotiate the best deal. That can be especially valuable because you may need more than a single vendor to successfully accomplish the transition you have in mind.

Take advantage of help that’s available from multiple sources. Then get with the right consultant – one who can help you coalesce all that information and all those opinions into solutions that make sense for your enterprise.

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc