Data Center

10 Steps to Realizing Value from DCIM Software

One of the key criticisms leveled at Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is that many companies fail to achieve full value from those implementations. Here Soeren Schroeder, software director at Schneider Electric, guides us through 10 easy steps that you can take in order to get full value from your investment in DCIM software.

The full presentation can be viewed as a live blog-cast here

  1. Define requirements
    It may seem obvious but I meet up with a lot of end user organisations that have defined something beyond what is reasonable today. As a very first step look for problem statements, things you really want to improve. Is it monitoring? Is it asset management? DCIM is really not that hard: it starts with defining requirements.
  2. Understand where you are coming from
    You need to be honest with yourself here. Everyone has systems of various shapes and form. It might be a great building management system controlling various elements. It might be various types of IT. You need to categorize these to understand which systems have to live and which are for the future. Make sure you stay with the systems that provide good business value.
  3. Understand the market situation
    There is a wide community of analysts in the industry today that would be happy to provide you with reports and insights and One on Ones. This is absolutely a great source of information, as is the internet. Be very open minded here and make sure you get inspired as part of this process
  4. Cover your bases
    Make sure that your obvious and less obvious key stakeholders are identified and put in a room (if not physically then virtually at least). Categorize things into ‘must haves’ to ‘nice to haves’ to ‘absolutely no value’. Make sure it’s the stakeholders combined requirement that is really expressed at the end of it. Don’t underestimate the value of bringing people round the table.
  5. Narrow down your field of potential vendors
    At this time you are also probably narrowing down the field of potential vendors that you would interact with. If you see the need for it don’t be afraid of asking for a reference visit. You need to define for yourself that you know somebody who does xyz with a DCIM solution. Challenge the whole situation and understand what other end user organizations have had and try to learn from that.
  6. Business plan
    And then the time comes to build a business case. This is where for some organisations it becomes a little bit hard to show a visible direct return. What is the value in that DCIM? How can you translate that into something tangible in terms of dollars, euros, pounds? DCIM isn’t really about the software, it’s about the attitude change and the change of behavior within the organizations themselves. It goes without saying: a good solid business case is a good foundation for moving on.
  7. Proof of concept
    This is where I typically suggest to end users to do what I call a proof of concept so really defining a scope of elements that need to be proven. This is really a very powerful tool for you as an end user in terms of actually getting some real tangible numbers behind your business case. Make it count in terms of the most critical element of your business case really getting some tangible numbers behind that.
  8. Decision
    If you’ve done all the things right so far it will become a very easy decision for you. If at this point it all turns into one big committee and discussion then there’s a good likelihood that you missed some of the previous steps or maybe didn’t really go to the full extent.
  9. Implementation planning
    Again this is often a step that I see being ignored. “We have made the decision, and made the purchase – now let’s go implement it”. But it’s actually very important that you put a stick in the ground here and decide on the plan for this. How are you rolling it out?
  10. Implementation
    And then the fun starts, you can start to go in and do an implementation. Remember, it’s not just the software that you are implementing, you are also implanting a new or changed way of doing business within your organization. Schneider Electric, as the key global vendor that we are with the very large community of channels around us, channel partners around us, we can do a turnkey implementation installation for you. Make sure that you are part of this process.

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