Gartner has estimated that by 2016 the datacentre management market will be worth some £1bn. Yet this large figure pales into insignificance compared with the effects of companies not taking and maintaining control of their datacentre infrastructure.
Competitive advantage is hard to find these days and, talking to a global bank recently, I was told that decreasing top line growth and a lack of differentiation between financial services products made it all about improving the bottom line. This means, in part, cutting costs across the organisation - with IT a chief focus as a major expense.
The channel is crucial here. Where brands used to have a buffer - retailers, channel partners, wholesalers - consumers now have more direct access, and often an ability to communicate directly with the brand, influencing their decision-making process. These interactions produce data, and data requires constant care.
Executives in most large enterprises are focused on a need to understand, manipulate and benefit from the vast volumes of data the business handles. This is a good thing, but with it comes a major resource, technological and financial challenge.
Customers themselves still need to focus on their core business while providing much financial support to the IT department to maintain the services that will retain their customers.
Your objectives are simple: develop a long-standing relationship with your customers built on trust, proven offerings, an ability to evolve with their organisation, and visible (yes, real) returns on investment.
If this was simply an IT exercise, it would likely be easily solved, but additional factors make this a major headache - such as the plethora of diverse regulations that now exist that can put a massive financial and technological burden on companies.
Energy management and reporting, sustainability regulations, IT and data asset audits and security controls around personal data are just some of the external pressures on organisations. Add to these the internal requirement to improve shareholder value by cutting costs and placing those savings back on the bottom line.
Vendors are looking to their channels to step up and take on this challenge. As datacentres pop up at a remarkable rate, analysts still talk of running out of datacentre space by 2016.
Innovative offerings combined with scalable strategy are needed; the channel must understand and provide them. It is virtually impossible for vendors, even the largest manufacturers, to meet the demands of datacentre growth.
At the heart of datacentre management is the ability to monitor, control and plan both the infrastructure housing the data, and the flow and analysis of the data itself.
Smart buildings require sensors that provide real-time data to enable a continuously maintained environment in which systems perform at their optimum.
The physical assets that support this data flow and analysis are also an essential part of the tracking and capacity planning process. Their utilisation and placement is critical. Integration and finely tuned configuration are where the reseller proves the automation to the customer.
An immediate stream of data starts to populate dashboards and aggregation models enabling thresholds and alerts to be set. Within hours, the customer is seeing value; within days, RoI.
Take IBM. I understand it now enjoys complete compliance with hardware audits after taking inventory visibility from 71.8 per cent to 99.7 per cent, with an 80 per cent increase in asset reconciliation. HP has improved its cooling efficiency in its cloud datacentres by 27 per cent.
More recently, many financial institutions have made the move from passive RFID tracking to the more accurate and 100 per cent automated Active-RFID. This allays security, inaccuracy, manual labour and integration concerns.
Now is the time to step into the datacentre and build a service offering around scalable offerings that you can integrate, maintain and continually grow to meet the demands of your customers.
Richard Jenkins is marketing and strategic partnerships vice president at RF Code
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