Colocation providers looking for ways to add value to the services they offer customers – which should be all of them – would do well to look at remote hands services, where they perform technical work on IT equipment on their customers’ behalf.
This is one of the findings from a 451 Research survey of some 450 decision-makers responsible for selecting colocation services, which aimed to shed light on the changing facets driving colocation demand. When asked what factors are important in choosing a colocation provider, 81% said remote hands or “white glove” support was either extremely important (31%) or important (50%).
In terms of importance, that rating puts remote hands services on par with factors including cost, network choice and capacity, and facility uptime. In fact, only 24-hour security scored higher, at 85%.
The survey also uncovered valuable information on what would make customers more likely to use remote hands services. The answer: the ability to monitor and track the services via a secure portal.
If they could monitor/track remote hands services, 41% of respondents who don’t currently use the services said they’d be more likely to do so. Of those who already use the services, 45% said they would do so more often if they could remotely monitor the work being done. Only 13% of respondents said the monitoring capability would make no difference with respect to their use of remote hands services.
At this point, you may be wondering how you go about implementing a secure portal that would let customers monitor remote hands services. In many cases, the answer lies in your data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software.
As the 451 Research study makes clear, data is typically fed into customer portals from DCIM software. In fact, the study says the capability can help cost-justify DCIM investments:
Some of the most valuable benefits of DCIM, such as driving down risk and building customer trust and loyalty through transparency, are the most difficult to quantify.
That’s why the company asked colocation customers whether they’d be more willing to use remote hands services if they could “see” what was going on through a portal. Clearly, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
But the benefit of customer portals goes well beyond remote hands services. As the 451 Research report says:
We also believe DCIM-based customer portals can support sales efforts by helping to differentiate between two seemingly similar colocation providers. Well-designed customer dashboards, which can have a visual ‘wow’ effect, often become a focal point of a customer visit and, with links to financial and modeling systems, the beginning of a detailed business discussion. Customer portals that are widely liked by users include ‘on-demand’ administration and management offerings – whether in the form of control panels with aggregate service views, tools for performance monitoring and measurement, or easy integration with other platforms and data.
DCIM, of course, can also help colocation providers monitor their data centers and improve energy efficiency, to help keep prices down and profits up. The study showed customers are wise to this idea, with 65% saying they are more willing to use a provider that employs DCIM software to monitor their facilities.
As the survey makes clear, implementing DCIM can bring a lot of benefit to colocation providers, including additional revenue from new services like remote hands. In addition, linking DCIM to BMS and Power Monitoring solutions can provide enhanced performance as well as better visibility into SLA’s. (Click here to learn more about Schneider Electric’s DCIM offering.)
DCIM was just one of the many issues covered in the 451 Research report, titled “Customer Insight: Future-proofing your colocation business.” It’s full of valuable survey findings that will help you drive your business.