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Updated by Charles Bystock on 10/08/2014

datacenter_outsourcing_best_questionsThe longer you wait to modernize your enterprise IT, the more complex your decision-making process will be. Today’s broader range of alternatives for data center outsourcing services brings greater opportunity to find a custom fit, but comparing those options against your enterprise needs and goals is considerably more complicated. The outsourcing marketplace has evolved well past “should we or shouldn’t we?”

You have to ask the right questions to get the answers you need. Let’s start with the most important question.

Where can we get reliable, unbiased advice regarding data center outsourcing services?

A high-level consultant can help you design a high-level outsourcing plan, then link you with the service providers best positioned to help you achieve your corporate goals. You’ll get just what you want: the best systems, the best providers, the best services and the best deal. And with your consultant’s professional assistance, you’ll get what you want faster with less stress, too.

The right consulting team will show you a holistic approach to transformative decision-making. That’s critical, because without considering the entire picture, it will be impossible to accurately calculate total cost of ownership of various alternatives. A holistic approach looks at:

  • Your current IT status and costs.
  • Current industry trends.
  • Available options.
  • Marketplace and operational impacts on your enterprise.

The right consultant will use an iterative approach to guide you step by step and ensure you’re asking every important question about data center outsourcing services.

What are our options regarding solutions?

Leading-edge enterprises are ensuring their future agility by moving from infrastructure-focused IT to a service-centric approach. You want to save money and boost efficiency, but you also need to broaden your scope of corporate capabilities to remain competitive. Ask:

  • What service models support this so we can capture the benefits of emerging technologies and methodologies?
  • Which models will fit best with our company?
  • Which functions should we retain in-house, and which should we transition to data center outsourcing services?

Leasing and outsourcing free up capital to reinvest or please stockholders with higher dividends or corporate valuation. Before you decide to retain functions, compare the costs of purchasing, maintenance, upgrades and operations against the costs of data center outsourcing services. And ask yourself how you want your internal staff to spend their time.

Automated tasks are more prevalent in data centers now, and that can relieve your IT staff of more mundane tasks, but would your enterprise benefit more if skilled IT personnel focused on broader creative thinking and planning?

What are our options regarding vendors?

Do we care if our provider is offshore or nearby? What kind of people do we want to work with? Who can we trust? What selection criteria should we use? And what type of pricing structure will bring us the strongest working partnership?

With more complex solutions and deals, vetting service providers takes on even more importance. And you can expect more complex contract management – something you can’t outsource.

What about risk management?

Corporations typically find that data center outsourcing services dramatically improve their disaster recovery capabilities while substantially reducing related costs. But you also want to ask about governance and control, how each provider ensures your data security and how different outsourcing arrangements can ensure your ability to meet government and industry-specific compliance requirements.

Remember that retained physical data centers are also exposed to physical risks.

What about financial considerations?

How will our decisions affect our tax position and corporate financials? Shifting from CAPEX to OPEX changes your balance sheet presentation as well as potentially freeing up significant cash. What are the overall real estate ramifications of making a major change in data center operations, especially if we choose pay-as-you-go colocation or cloud-based services?

Asking the best questions will assure you get the best data center outsourcing services. 

photo credit: David Bergin Photography via photopin cc