In any enterprise – large and small – bottom-line ROI is arguably the biggest factor driving business decisions. Whether switching from PCs to Macs, investing in new travel and expense management software or integrating data center solutions, every business unit, from HR to sales and IT, must prove the value that new processes and offerings will have on the enterprises’ bottom line. The problem? Getting buy-in from all business groups, from the C-Suite on down, can be a serious undertaking often halting or ceasing potential implementation. When it comes to the data center, no one knows this better than data center managers who must work tirelessly with C-Suite to showcase the value and benefits of next generations data center software solutions.
To shed light on motivations (or lack thereof) behind implementing a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution from both perspectives, Intel DCM and Schneider Electrics joined forces on research commissioned by Morar Consulting to dig a little deeper on the data center manager and C-Suite divide.
Understanding the divide
The 2017 DCIM Deployment Survey, which surveyed 201 CIOs, CTOs and senior data center managers across the US and UK, clearly highlights the need for better communication between the C-Suite and data center/IT teams as priorities for implementations of DCIM solutions varies based on title. In fact, 38 percent of CIO’s and CTO’s surveyed viewed cost saving as their top benefit for implementation, compared to just 21 percent of data center managers. Adversely, nearly 40 percent of data center managers surveyed viewed freeing up their free time through automation processes as a top benefit, compared to just 20 percent of CIO’s/CTO’s. Additionally, when it comes to improving management of data center capacity, the C-Suite is much more concerned than data center managers.
When taking a step back, it’s not surprising why these two groups would have different opinions on the benefits regarding implementation of a DCIM solution. The C-Suite values the bottom line cost savings of a solution, while IT teams and data center managers value factors that will impact their daily workflow like increasing automation in order to cut down on manual processes. These differences in opinion regarding the benefits of implementation shouldn’t deter the C-Suite and data center managers from having a conversation around implementation, however, it seems that it does, as a third of C-level managers state that they lack necessary education on the value of a DCIM solution.
So, how then do data center managers and the C-Suite get on the same page? The first step is understanding the differences each business unit perceives as valuable. In other words, they need to learn to speak each other’s language in order to better communicate value. For example, if a data center manager is more aware that C-Suite cares about how a DCIM solution will provide immediate ROI and talk numbers, the data center manager may have more luck convincing the C-level exec that this solution is mission critical.
Barriers to implementation
It’s not surprising that this disconnect exists, as implementing a new process while also managing the everyday ebbs and flows of data management is a significant and potentially daunting task. This, coupled with the C-Suite's intense focus on bottom-line ROI and cost saving, can make DCIM a potentially tough sell for a data center manager in any organization. For example, a third of data center managers surveyed reported that they are still fighting major budget restrictions when attempting to implement DCIM, implying a lack of priority from the c-suite. Large enterprises aren’t immune to these budget restrictions either, as 53 percent of large enterprises said that getting budget approved was the tipping point for implementation of a solution.
While the C-Suite doesn’t want to invest the time and cost into researching and implementing a DCIM solution, they’re vastly under estimating the bottom line benefits of a system once it’s in place. The C-Suite hesitation to implement is understandable, however, it may be misguided.
Of those CIO’s/CTO’s who took the plunge and implemented a DCIM solution, half stated that they would currently rate their solution an A. Furthermore, over a third of CIO’s/CTO’s viewed cost savings as their top benefit after implementing, as over half of those surveyed stated that they have seen a cost saving of 25 percent or more since implementing a solution. That’s an extremely crucial point for data center managers looking to convince the C-Suite of DCIM’s value.
Time to talk
In the end, the C-Suite may say that the cost and time spent implementing a DCIM solution is their biggest barrier to incorporating a DCIM solution into their data center, however, given the cost saving benefits once a solution is in place, a lack of education and communication is truly the largest barrier.
Bottom line: If your enterprise has yet to implement a DCIM solution, or at least explore the benefits of doing so, it’s time for your data center managers to step up to the plate and have a conversation with the C-Suite.
This article originally appeared on www.networkworld.com and has been republished with the consent of the author.