2 FM quick reads on contracts
1. Consider Contractor Location When Outsourcing
When selecting outsourced service providers, there is a whole range of choice and parameters by which to make the decision, such as evaluating the contractor's skill set, safety record, experience in the field, financial stability, and references. Of course cost is also near the top of the pile.
But maybe one criteria facility managers haven't thought about too much is the contractor's presence in the local geographic area. If the service provider has no presence in the nearby area, if your project suddenly needs additional personnel, there may be none available to serve your needs.
For companies with a global reach, a strategy can be to set up global service contracts. Or a national service contracts. These types of contracts usually lead to lower service prices and there's plenty of backup available.
The drawback can be a lower level of local service if the provider doesn't have resources near all of the organization's facilities, so it's still a balancing act.
2. Staffing and Support Should Affect Choice of Data Center Location
Today's tip from Building Operating Management: When evaluating locations for data centers, be aware of people issues.
Many factors come into play in the decision of where to locate a data center. One important set of issues that can be overlooked has to do with the people who will keep the data center operational. For example, the location of a data center determines the pool of potential employees that a facility executive will have to draw from. Densely populated areas like the Tri-State region around New York City typically have the largest number of experienced data center facility engineers and managers. But a big city location doesn't necessarily make it easy to find and retain qualified staff. One reason is because the large number of data centers makes it easier for experienced professionals to change jobs.
Data centers in other parts of the country have challenges of their own. One of them is that vendor support for mission critical items like UPS systems may be lacking in the area. If that's the case, the facility executive may need to develop in-house expertise in that system - something that might not be needed in a major urban center where large data center owners can expect very quick response from local vendors.
Is there is a vendor service organization that can support the equipment? If not, are there contractors in the area that can either do the job completely or at least fill in until the vendor can get there?
Global operations magnify the challenge of ensuring that qualified people - whether in-house, outsourced or provided by vendors - are available to keep the data center running. Pfizer has hundreds of data center facilities scattered around the world, some of them operating in remote locations with minimal staff. If a data center in a hard-to-reach location runs into a problem, the sheer distance and travel logistics involved may delay the response from an outside organization contracted to provide support for the data center.
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