Ben Hatton Why it Pays for a Data Center Migration to have Stakeholders

July 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Organizational Structure

Your business no doubt has many different stakeholders, and so will your data center project!

If you have ever been involved in a data center migration, consolidation, or other significant data center project, you know that the work can be very detailed and complex. These types of projects have lots of moving parts, and require a high level of intensive planning up front (we looked at a few planning factors to consider in a previous post). One thing I mentioned in that post was the importance of getting as much internal buy-in as possible for your data center project, by the key stakeholders in your business. In this post I’m going to delve into why that is so important for these types of projects (just like I promised!).

Who are your stakeholders?

A data center migration is bound to impact several different parties, and these are the individuals who should be considered the primary stakeholders of the project. Each of them has their own unique goals and pain points, and taking as many of these into account as possible during the planning phase will increase the likelihood of a successful migration. That’s not to say that a level of compromise won’t be necessary at times, but it’s still good to keep in mind what your team’s cumulative success factors look like. Here are some examples:

Stakeholder Goal
Your IT Department A successful migration that utilizes modern standards and technology, with a minimal level of downtime.
Finance/Budgeting A migration that is as cost-efficient as possible.
Department Managers No technical interruptions or outages that affect their regular workflow.
Upper Management A migration that is not only cost effective, but helps improve the overall direction and growth potential of the company.
Your Customers Zero service-impacting downtime. Customers should never even have to be aware that a data center move is taking place. If any issues do arise though, they will expect every effort from you to be transparent and honest about what is being done to restore their services as soon as possible.

 

When you can identify all of the different parties who have a stake or interest in your data center project, you can begin working towards a general consensus on realistic and achievable goals for the project. Getting all of these groups of people involved at the beginning will not only help with meeting their individual goals, but it will shift the focus for your data center move from being just “an IT project” to being a “company project” instead. In the following example we’ll see why this is so important for a data center project.

The government’s data center consolidation

Over the past several years, the U.S. government has been engaged in a major data center consolidation initiative, with their goal being to cut the high number of federal data centers down to a more manageable and financially-friendly level. While the high-level end goal may seem straightforward enough, there are many other factors in play:

  1. The overall IT budget for federal services has been consistently shrinking, so the data center consolidation has to take place using minimal financial resources.
  2. The CIO’s for each major federal agency are constantly being challenged to embrace modern technologies such as cloud computing, that will not only allow for lower maintenance costs, but more efficient and scalable operations as well.
  3. As with most long-term government projects, the data center consolidation has been under much political scrutiny by Congress, and as a result there has been a push for more visibility and accountability as the consolidation project has been progressing.

While each of the above factors may represent challenges as well as additional complexity, they wouldn’t even exist as parameters for the data center project were it not for the collaboration of the key stakeholders involved. The stakeholders in this case are made up of numerous federal CIO’s, members of Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, to name only a few. By identifying as many goals and pain points for these different groups as possible up front, the consolidation project as a whole stands a much better chance of having a successful finish (exactly how successful remains to be seen, since the project is still ongoing).

Collaboration helps everyone

Whether your data center migration project is as complex as the federal government’s, or you are just moving your data center from one location to another, taking the time to identify every party that has a stake in the project, as well as their unique goals and constraints, will go a long way in making the move a successful one for everybody. Doing this will help bring everyone on board who needs to be, and allow each stakeholder to have a role in the planning. Since a data center migration will always affect everyone in an organization, this is really how it should be!

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