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Why inviting your facilities manager to the business/IT party makes sense

on ‎01-23-2014 03:15 PM

By Steve Wibrew, HP Technology Services Strategy and Portfolio Lead for IT Management and Automation


Steve_Wibrew_badge_176x304_tcm245_1417919_tcm245_1422290_32_tcm245-1417919.pngHave you ever been to a party where someone forgot to invite the guest of honor? If you have been talking to business managers about business-IT alignment without your facilities manager at your side, then I would say you have.


Whatever plans we develop for meeting the IT needs of the business eventually come down to space, power and cooling. And managing computer systems to assure the service availability and performance that the business expects also means assuring the availability and performance of the facilities that host them.


For IT, it can be easy to overlook the impact of facilities on our plans and operations. And the problem is exacerbated when multiple IT teams are planning in parallel, but not in conjunction. Nothing brings things to a halt like discovering that the project will require data center expansion. Even when capacity is theoretically available, piece-meal planning and implementations can result in stranded space and power, not useable without major reconfigurations that mean major costs and major delays.


Coordinating IT with facilities plans and operations is a challenge because the organizations are not well integrated, and they operate on different timelines. We expect to refresh IT equipment every four to five years. Facilities expects data centers to last 15 to 20 years. And data center expansion is expensive, so planning and implementation lead times can be much longer. But it’s time we recognized our facilities managers as the partners they need to be, and to develop planning and operations processes that span the whole data center environment.


The need to view the data center as a unified whole encompassing both facilities and IT infrastructure has brought an array of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions to the market. But implementing good tools that are not aligned to your organization and processes gets you bad results. Tools are only part on the solution.


We’ve been working with a number of our customers to implement converged management. That's management of IT services from space, power and cooling, through racks and rails, to servers, storage and networks and service delivery. The first step is to facilitate information sharing. Each team needs to understand where the other is going, what trends and best practices are at work in their arena, and what technologies are emerging. We help them formulate a unified strategy and roadmap that shows what the combined journey will be like. We help them evaluate tools and technologies that can help. We spot ways they can better integrate their teams for better results. And we identify processes they need to create or update.


In the end, organizations must create a converged management framework that enables: business-IT-facilities alignment; defined organizational roles; and integrated management processes, tools and systems. And today there’s some big news: HP has announced new Converged Management Consulting Services that can help your organization quickly reach these goals. Check out Chris Coggrave’s  blog Blast through the barriers to DCIM to learn how HP can help your organization reap the benefits of a more tightly integrated data center.


And to learn more about me and the ways I can help you improve how you operate and manage your IT environment, visit my HP Expert profile.

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About the Author


Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.

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