What's your definition of a "partnership"? For data center managers, is a "partner" a manufacturer that keeps product in stock and readily available for data center deployment? Does a partner deliver products on time? Does a partner give you access to "discounted" products?
Sure, data center deployment partners should absolutely do these things. But these things don't add real value beyond what any other manufacturer can do; every manufacturer should already be keeping products in stock and readily available to best serve you. Any vendor can sell products at a lower cost. But, in our opinion, true partners don't buy your business – they earn it.
So what does a data center deployment partner bring to the table for data center managers? What value do they add as true "partners" that other providers or vendors can't (or won't)?
For starters, true partners take time to find out what you’re doing – and how you're doing it. True partners want to know what your KPIs (key performance indicators) are so they can understand how you measure performance – and help you meet your performance goals. Value can only be provided when another organization takes time to get to know you, your challenges, how you measure performance and how you’d like to see your business and data center grow.
Here are two recent examples of how a true partnership between a data center manager and a manufacturer brings much more value to data center deployment than in-stock products and on-time shipping. A true partnership facilitates increased business, productivity and efficiency.
1. Helping an MTDC Promote a New Service
Many multi-tenant data center (MTDC) managers want to give customers a turnkey solution that includes infrastructure rather than just "ping power pipe" (rack or floor space, electrical power and an Internet connection) and letting the tenant figure out the rest. If this is a new venture for an MTDC, getting started can be overwhelming. How do you communicate this offering to customers? How do they learn what’s available to them?
After an MTDC customer shared that they wanted to offer turnkey solutions to tenants, but weren't sure how to get started, we brainstormed ideas together. Once we better understood what the MTDC wanted to provide to tenants, we recommended creating a special customer catalog to illustrate the infrastructure choices available. But knowing how much time it would take to put together a custom solutions catalog, we worked with them to create the format and outline, and gather information to complete it. The end result was a piece that helps the MTDC drive new business – without any time wasted by their staff on creating the materials to promote the new data center deployment service.
Bottom line: If you're an MTDC, you want to make it as easy as possible for your tenant to say: "Yes, we're going to lease this space from you and all we want to do is move in our equipment." A true partner wants to help you do whatever it takes so it's easy for your tenants to say "yes" to you.
2. Helping an Integrator Meet a Customer's Needs
We recently worked with an integration firm that had a customer request it struggled to meet. The integrator's customer – a large financial institution – asked the integrator to provide single-SKU cabinet configurations that could be ordered, configured and deployed rapidly to support elastic computing.
The integrator understood the logical equipment stacks, but couldn’t create the physical cabinet configurations and connectivity plan. So we stepped in to convert the logical equipment stack into a single-SKU Data Center Ready solution, complete with elevations and connectivity mapping. Our work was incorporated into the integrator's submittal documents as part of its package.
Once ordered, the Data Center Ready solution was shipped directly to the firm's integration center where the equipment was installed and configured, and the connectivity was added. When the cabinets arrived at the financial institution, all it had to do was roll them onto the floor and connect them to the network.
We helped this integration firm become an expert in a new area so they could fulfill a customer’s request while considerably reducing deployment time by providing a completely preconfigured solution.
Bottom line: If you're unsure how to meet a customer request – whether you're an integrator, an MTDC or an enterprise data center – a true partner wants to hear about your challenge and help you find a solution. By taking the time to understand what the integration firm needed and how it was measuring performance, we developed a solution and logistics plan so the integrator could exceed its customer's requirements.
Trusted data center deployment partners can provide the depth of knowledge and resources to find solutions – not just products – that help you solve your most frustrating challenges.
Think of it this way: How do you buy anything else you use? When you purchase your next home, will you work with the real estate company that shows up only when you’re ready to sell or buy? Or will you want to partner with a real estate company that has taken the time to get to you know, your family and your frustrations with your current home – and has offered possible solutions and alternatives for you to consider?
Belden offers the engineering support, knowledge and resources to make your data center deployment successful. We follow a three-step process to make sure we truly understand what you need:
- Schedule a call with a data center expert (a Belden systems engineer)
- Conduct a listening session where you share your challenges, needs and requirements with us
- Create a plan to ensure successful data center deployment
Learn more about Belden's data center solutions and three-step process for success.
Do you feel like you have a trusted partner to work with on data center deployment projects? Share your experience in the comments section below!
With 24 years of telecommunications and data center industry experience, Warren McCarty is a Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories training graduate and BICSI RCDD who is responsible for supervising Belden’s direct sales, partner management and marketing activity implementation for data centers.