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What role can professional services play in the data centre space?

Professional Services

Working in professional services, I’m often asked why it’s important in the data centre business. Well, it is important, for both customers and suppliers, and the reason? There’s a gap.

The average data centre contract, regardless of the type of solution, will last on average between 3-5 years. With the rate of change in the technology industry what is often an appropriate solution at the beginning of a contract can be heavily outdated when it comes around to renewal. We see organisations grow at phenomenal rates so how can a contract created three years ago for a 200-user organisation have any hope of delivering to what has now blossomed into a company of 500 users operating with a completely different business model, not to mention in a new time?

There’ve been numerous instances in the industry of organisations on both sides of the fence going over contracts with a fine-tooth comb in year five of a five-year contract arguing over SLAs. Come the end of that arrangement it is not surprising that the customer might look elsewhere, but when you factor in the cost and time of yet another migration, is anyone really winning?

“It has become hard for firms to stand out from the crowd in pricing, products or services. Now customer experience is the big differentiator”,

What it comes down to is customer experience. Customer experience is a broad term that used to mean customer service — being on the other end of the phone to a customer when required and building a good personal relationship, making them feel valued. Now, however, customer experience starts much earlier — with the journey to find the right end solution. Vendors that can provide solutions and services for all sections of that journey, from beginning to end, are going to be the most successful.

Today, the way suppliers provide solutions is changing. If someone rang up a data centre supplier 10 years ago and asked for five racks of colo it would have been a very happy salesman who would turn around and start giving pricing, which was the expected role of a supplier.

Organisations aren’t looking for just a supplier anymore — they are looking for a strategic partner to guide and assist them. They want someone who isn’t just jumping at the chance of that colo sale, but someone who is going to step back to understand their motives and objectives and even question why they need it. For example, maybe there is an acquisition on the cards for that organisation and some private cloud would provide the ability for a more replicable platform.

There is so much to consider when making changes to infrastructure and this is where professional services really helps deliver the true customer experience. With the next couple of blogs I will look at how professional services fills some key parts of this journey making a healthier experience for customer and supplier alike.

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