How to Make the Financial Case for Data Centers
Chris Wade has excelled in justifying investments in technology to an organization's executives. Here are some of his tips.
As much as data centers are about machines — servers, generators, switchgear, uninterruptible power supply systems, computer room air conditioning and air-handling units — equipment is far from the whole story. To thrive in the world of data centers, facility managers need to be able to function effectively across the organization. A good example is justifying investments in technology to an organization’s executives. “The key is to always get with the business owners,” Wade says. Once he does that, Wade starts asking questions. What type of business will the organization be doing in this location or country? What type of systems are going to go in that data center, and what applications are going on those systems? What’s the growth plan?
Conversations with senior managers can bring their own sort of pressure. One way to handle that pressure is to be prepared. Communicating effectively with top executives about data center investments requires facility managers to have considerable breadth of knowledge, especially in firms with a global data center footprint. It’s essential, of course, to consider power availability, the likelihood of natural disasters, and the type of cooling systems that make sense for a given area, Wade says. But there are also government regulations to be taken into account, as well as any rules about transferring information back and forth between, for instance, the United States and another country.
Having a solid handle on all this information helps in presenting to management a strong case for the data center investment.