The Tenant Portal; A Win for the Customer is a Win for Everybody

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In my last blog, Kicking Kafka out of Data Center Operations, I spoke about some of the benefits which an online service, such as Schneider Electric’s Tenant Portal, can provide to both the colocation customer and the colocation service provider.

Cloud and colocation services have become so important to professionals running IT networks of any size, that it’s hard to foresee a future where only enterprise data centers exist in isolation. However, the challenge is for the outsourced service to be seamlessly integrated with internal resources so that the whole network can operate smoothly.

In the past, client companies have contracted for space and power capacity with the service provider based upon uptime SLAs. Providing that contracted capacity has been available as and when required, a level of implicit trust has been established between both parties – when compute power is always readily accessible the whole organization is at peace with IT and facilities!

As we move forward, what we’ve been seeing is a more sophisticated customer emerging who’s looking to get more from the relationship on two levels: Insight and Control. There is a general expectation that the internet and software could and should be able to tell us things we didn’t generally have access to in the not so distant past.

So, for example, they want to see more of the data, just as they could if they were operating their own facility. As the cloud service essentially becomes their data center, they want insights that only data can bring, like how much power I’m using, what’s the average temperature in my cages over the last period because my servers are old and I’m concerned.

Secondly, they want to be able to exercise a measure of control over the space. Obviously control has to be limited to some degree – in a shared space we need to ensure that changes in one company’s racks don’t impact the loads in surrounding cages. However, being able to manage the account and add users, as well as commission moves, adds and changes are desirable and relatively easy to provide.

Recently, we have been working with a colocation service provider which has made the decision to be fully transparent with its customers. Since information is being generated in so many ways that can not only benefit its customers and their commercial relationships, it’s making data available and even helping with the integration of other software packages so that both insourced and outsourced data center stock can be managed in a single pane of glass.

In my view, this is leading with innovation. It also sits very well with the thinking of people like Geoffrey Moore, the organizational theorist. In his recent book, “Zone to Win”, Moore talks about the need for business to latch onto new waves of technological innovation to propel growth and success (he also talks about former market leading companies which have failed to catch their next innovation wave and lost market position).

In a forthcoming blog, I’ll talk more about the colo company which has chosen a transparent approach. But in the meantime I’ll leave you with the thought that the differentiation I spoke about in my first blog, has the net effect of improving business both for the service company and its customers. And win:win is a good position for us all.

To learn more about current trends in the colocation market, access Schneider Electric’s free roundtable report: “Opportunities and Threats for Colocation Providers from Around the Globe.”

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