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Building the business case for intelligent storage

 

You know you need an intelligent storage platform, but how do you convince decision makers that such a platform is a worthy investment? Here are a few tips.

business case for intelligent storage_blog.jpgEven when you're absolutely certain that your company needs a particular technology, it can sometimes be a challenge to develop a business case that supports your certainty. In the case of intelligent storage, though, there are some key points you can make that are likely to help decision makers understand just how an intelligent data storage platform can improve the business.

It starts with a simple fact: To gain valuable insights from your data, you need to empower it, protect it, and make it easily accessible. Not all storage platforms can do all of this at the same time, if at all. Therefore, leveraging intelligence is becoming increasingly critical as organizations seek simplification and business-centric outcomes from their data.

You know this, and you therefore know you need an intelligent data storage platform. But how do you convince decision makers that such a platform is a worthy investment?

Don't talk about speeds and feeds

You don't start by talking about how awesome intelligent storage's iSCSI support is or how its support for 10 Gb Ethernet makes it super fast. These things may excite you, but as soon as you start listing the speeds, feeds, and protocols supported by storage, eyes will glaze over and, eventually, executives in a zombie-like trance will simply reject your proposal.

Instead, you need to be armed with information that is critical to overcoming skepticism and objections. That means bringing to management business-centric explanations of intelligent data storage's value to the enterprise.

Forgo "what" and focus on "why"

Instead of focusing on the "what" of intelligent storage—what it is and how it works—devote most of your business case to the "why."

Why is intelligent data storage so important? Because organizations simply can no longer afford to expend copious IT staffing resources like they may have in the past. As companies seek to become lean and agile and undertake digital transformation efforts, their infrastructure needs to be able to keep up. That means organizations must have intelligent data storage options that match their business needs and requirements.

When answering the "why" of intelligent data storage in your business case, the following are some key points to focus on.

Improving revenue and margins

Make sure you include potential revenue and margin improvement projections in your business case. This kind of revenue-centric focus is often overlooked when discussing infrastructure, but it can make the difference between approval and denial of your request.

The right storage platform has the potential to enable new revenue streams and improve margins. While traditional storage was never built with the intelligence that allowed organizations to harness its power across an organization, an intelligent data storage platform allows organizations to aggregate intelligence and leverage it to create value regardless of where data comes from.

Addressing needs in real time

One way it accomplishes this goal is by understanding what workloads need and adapting to those needs in real time. This self-monitoring, self-adapting storage is key in the modern business, particularly for applications that are performance sensitive. A key feature of a self-monitoring storage platform is its ability to move data where it needs to be, with the outcome being data availability anytime, anywhere.

Self-managing storage can create a more positive customer experience for use cases such as e-commerce applications. A more consistent and performance-centric customer experience can mean the difference between retaining a customer or losing them. In that sense, there is direct applicability to the storage layer for customer retention.

But it's not just about revenue. Overall margin can also be improved thanks to the reduced operating expenses of an intelligent data storage platform. HPE InfoSight, for example, has the ability to self-manage and optimize IT, which can help reduce operating costs by up to 79 percent. That expense savings goes right to the bottom line in the form of increased margins and boosted profits.

Reducing business risk

Revenue and margin are just one factor, though. An intelligent storage platform also has the potential to reduce overall business risk, partly with the aforementioned self-monitoring capabilities, but also thanks to powerful AI-centric monitoring capabilities, such as those found in HPE InfoSight. Most critically, HPE InfoSight makes it possible to predict and prevent 86 percent of problems before you even notice them. When a problem simply goes away, it reduces the potential of negatively impacting the rest of the infrastructure, thereby reducing overall business risk.

An intelligent data storage platform can also help protect an organization from the scourge of ransomware. HPE StoreOnce, part of HPE's family of intelligent data storage products, uses advanced intelligence capabilities to help protect customers from ransomware infections. Among other methods, StoreOnce achieves this by securing the authentication pathways and fully isolating data so ransomware can't even see it.

Any business case for a new platform needs to detail how the solution manages risk to the organization in two ways. First, what risk, if any, does it introduce? And second, what risks can it help to mitigate? Only with this kind of analysis can decision makers have an appreciation for the full impact of the solution.

Adding to the bottom line

On the economic front, intelligent storage brings a number of benefits to an organization, with the most important being the option to move to a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-like consumption-based storage model that can even be fully managed by someone else. For example, with HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity services, you're able to get ahead of capacity needs with little to no effort. You can choose to handle operations yourself or let HPE handle it for you.

With this model, you can eliminate the process of overprovisioning storage, a common practice that is used to get businesses through to the new refresh cycle. This can save you up to 30 percent on storage costs. Additionally, by letting HPE manage your storage, you can free staff up for more business-centric needs.

As you build your business case for an intelligent data storage platform, show a broad understanding of a total cost-of-ownership scenario, which considers potential cost savings from both consumption and staff hours. This will ensure that you're speaking the same language as executives and get your business case accepted.

The economic realities of intelligent storage absolutely make it a service worthy of attention. Between the cost savings that can be achieved with HPE InfoSight and the reduced risk that comes from services such as HPE StoreOnce, it's clear that intelligent data storage has the potential to reshape IT.


Scott Lowe.jpgMeet Infrastructure Insights blogger Scott D. Lowe, CEO and Lead Analyst for ActualTech Media. Since 1994, Scott has helped organizations of all stripes solve critical technology challenges. He has served in a variety of technical roles, spent ten years as a CIO, and has spent another ten as a strategic IT consultant in higher education. Today, his company helps educate IT pros and decision makers and brings IT consumers together with the right enterprise IT solutions to help them propel their businesses forward.


Infrastructure Insights
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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Comments

Scott, this is a very good list of topics with meat. I do think that it does conveniently sidestep the elephant in the room for most, which is what about the public cloud? I used to say that the enterprise has spoken and selected hyrid cloud - sometimes for the right reasons (workload needs, capabilities, pace) and sometimes wrong (keep job, control in the extreme, etc.).

That was then, and now we know that there is broader dissatisfaction with the cloud, 80% of enterprises are activiely bringing back 50% of their apps (IDC) -- whether that be for cost, FASB lease accouting rules or performance or more. And when they come back, they look for a different operating model like software-defined cloud-like storage, which is why HPE courted Datera into the fold, and financing models, like HPE Greenlake. I would think that if this isn't hit straight away, the relevant points you make may be trampled by the elephant in the room.  Here's a relevant discussion on that topic to enhance your solid advice.

https://datera.io/blog/love-it-or-leave-it-moving-back-from-the-public-cloud/