I had the interesting experience of being asked to present at the company’s Investor Day when Schneider Electric presents its annual results and future strategy to investors, bankers, analysts and journalists. For a man who spends the majority of his time listening to customers and trying to discern which of their requests and ideas could enhance our software solution set, it was quite a change.
Like any organization with something to sell, we carefully select our target audience. This is not rocket science; for our StruxureWare for Data Centers offering we consider that the software is of interest to the Data Center Manager, because he or she ends up with a better managed facility with better efficiency and higher capacity utilization.
We also believe that the software is of interest to the IT Manager, because he or she is the owner of the IT equipment in the data center. For many years this person has been looking for a way both to understand and to be able to exploit the power, cooling and rack capacities which should be available to provision the server, storage and networking equipment.
By using a common set of tools and a common language, we believe that our data center software ‘bridges the gap’ between these two communities of professionals; making information available to both groups in a way that can be assimilated usefully.
But we also consider that our software should be useful to the executives that run the business. Not because they necessarily need to know in real time what’s going on in the data center – although I wouldn’t want to rule out that possibility – but because for many businesses today the data center is absolutely mission critical. Without it, the business simply may not be a business.
So you’d think that the real demand for this software would come from the board room rather than the boiler room; that its use would be all but mandated by those that preside over IT-dependent organizations. So, back to the Investors Day…
Of all the visitors who came to view my own software presentation – and there were around 100 – the people that seemed most interested from a use point of view were the financial guys. As we demonstrated how the aggregation and analysis of tens of thousands of data points could be presented as information on which to base business decisions, well, they just couldn’t get enough. Although I have to concede that their eyes did glaze over a little bit when we drilled down into the individual device monitoring capabilities of the software!
The point is, the people who use data centers on a minute-by-minute basis to transact their financial instructions were easily able to see how the information presented by DCIM could be of real value in their decision making. Our share price was raised 7% on the day, although I can’t take all the credit for that ;-). As importantly, we got a clear indication that the CFO has an interest in the data center which goes far beyond the cost of the initial build.