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Achieving your storage transformation vision


Any sort of transformation should follow a pretty standard process. In order to work out what you have to do, you first need to know where you’re starting from and where you’re trying to get to. (So obvious, yet so frequently overlooked or even ignored!)


As I discussed in my previous blog (To start your Storage transformation, look in the “Mirror”), the first phase of the HP Storage Transformation Experience Workshop mainly focuses on the points of pain – both the technological and business drivers – and the current state. In the middle phase we focus on the customer’s vision: what would the enterprise look like, and what functionality would it support post-transformation?


Sounds easy, but in reality it’s not. This is where the skills of the facilitator come to the fore. In our experience, what we tend to find is that customers have a good idea of where they are and what’s causing them pain, but when we prompt them to discuss what the new world would look like, we tend to be told ‘fixed’ or ‘cheaper’ – which may be sensible desires, but aren’t really quantifiable.


The main panel that we use for the second phase of the Workshop – the Vision phase – is called the transformation target. It contains a series of graphics which are designed to encourage the various customer representatives to articulate the functionality or abilities of the target environment, be they technological or process- orientated.


The panel doesn’t describe any specific solution or equipment, because we don’t want to take the conversation down to the solution level. Instead, we want to encourage conversation around industry best practices or technological advancements that HP offers or which the customers may have discovered themselves outside of the Workshop. When we were developing the Workshop we spent a considerable amount of time designing this panel, as it’s not only product-independent but also infrastructure- and process-independent.


At this point we also re-visit the previous panels (transformation drivers, operational considerations and change considerations) to encourage the customer to start to build their vision statements based on the previously discussed pain statements and issue statements.


The facilitators use their skills to interpret the vision statements of both technical and non-technical customer representatives, to guide the participants and keep them realistic, and also to help them understand when they’re being unrealistic by quantifying the impact of their desires and vision. Technology is advancing all the time, and we can now do amazing things, but the gap between vanity and sanity seems to be as wide as ever.


This is another benefit of having the consumer, the technical representative and the stakeholder/decision maker in the room together at the same time. The open, safe forum of the Workshop enables any requirement to be discussed and negotiated to the point where it can be acted upon – rather than simply discounted out of hand, with the ultimate customer no wiser for the decision.


If you’d like to learn more about the HP Storage Transformation Experience Workshop, drop a note to

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About the Author


Working for EMEA TS Consulting, I am a Specialist in end to end management of customer data, from creation through consumption, to protection and preservation and ultimately (controlled) destruction. This includes, host, connectivity, storage, data protection and backup and archive, from a technical and more importantly, operational perspective. I have worked in the storage and data management industry for over 15 years, on both sides of the desk, as a customer and now as a consultant.


Spot on.  Good to see a view and approach to transformation something beyond a mere product play.  All too often we find that the approach is to give an answer or provide our version of the truth as opposed to help guide a customer to thier own version of the truth that best meet their business needs.  I a have always found that using two ears more than one mouth is much more effective.  Bottom-line this approach effectively aligns IT to Business and sets the foundaiton where IT becomes a business partner as opposed to a support orgainization.

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