The ground-level expectation of outsourcing multi-vendor service contracts and optimizing data center operations is that your infrastructure will receive the care and expertise needed to operate efficiently and with minimum downtime. But the benefits of outsourcing data center maintenance and operation services can extend far beyond minimizing data center downtime. In fact, improved uptime and optimized system performance ranked fourth in a recent survey of Schneider Electric Operation Services customers by Techvalidate. Here are the top benefits, along with the percentage of respondents choosing each:
Look at that list: The three most-cited benefits actually are about resource allocation, asset management, and serving the needs of the business – all top-level, long-term strategic challenges.
While it may be hard to put a dollar value on “confidence” and “peace of mind,” the Techvalidate survey shows that data center professionals clearly rate them highly as benefits. After all, data center pros have enough day-to-day concerns and responsibilities without having to keep a nervous eye on maintenance of their infrastructure equipment.
Asset management and resource allocation, on the other hand, can have a dollar value. Data centers have budgets and staffs: An operation service contract helps them better manage their budget and optimize resources. Budget money that would have to be spent on unplanned (and typically more expensive) repair costs can be redirected toward IT initiatives that help the business meet its goals. Similarly, a quality operation services contract means internal staff won’t have to be pulled away from mission-critical projects to diagnose problems and schedule repairs.
The City of San Antonio offers an excellent case study. Among the challenges facing the city’s data center were:
- missed scheduled services visits
- recurring equipment problems and unreliability
- safety concerns
- insufficient staff knowledge of data center infrastructure operation and repair
- escalating operating costs.
In other words, the city’s data center was exposed to significant risk.
To avoid disruption to data center operations for this major American city, San Antonio contracted Schneider Electric to perform managed maintenance of its data center. According to a City of San Antonio facilities manager, Schneider Electric’s service improved the performance of the municipal data center while cutting operating costs – and allowed IT pros to do what they’re paid to do.
“I am able to focus on other ‘priorities’ that occur on a regular basis in managing multiple facilities, and have confidence that Schneider [Electric] is capable of performing the services accurately on a consistent basis,” the facility manager writes in the comments section of the Techvalidate survey.
Maintenance and operations service agreements are more than guarantees against prolonged outages: They are strategic assets that can empower a data center to focus on an organization’s business goals while gaining confidence the data center is running efficiently and optimally.