The process of data centre migration is a time where you reach a kind of heightened state of awareness, where the ultimate failings and advantages of your past and present provider become abundantly apparent.
So when we asked IDG to undertake some research into the experiences people have when they migrate their data centre, we knew that the results would be interesting. We weren’t wrong. The results say a lot about what people feel about the experience of moving in itself. But on top of that, they give us clear insight into what businesses should be asking before entering a colocation agreement in the first place.
A need for better service
On the most basic level, the people interviewed (who were storage, data centre and IT specialists) said they simply want better service. At the moment, it seems that only around a half of businesses say their providers do ‘everything possible’. The other half, however, rated their provider at best as ‘fair’ and ‘reactive’. A significant minority explicitly said they would have liked more help. This can only lead us to the conclusion that businesses need to investigate service levels very closely before committing to a partnership.
Things became really interesting when we delved deeper and asked respondents to rank what they would have liked to see more of when switching between providers. Again, the number-one most cited answer, given by almost half of respondents, was delivering better service levels.
Specifically, responses centred on the service component cited: on-site engineering services, complementary services to add value, greater transparency, more flexible contracts, more local facilities, less technical jargon, more compliance assistance and a need for service providers to work more closely with customers as being particularly desirable.
It’s not just all about service, however
The IDG report also shows that there are some particular areas of functionality and protection that are most important to businesses when choosing or moving to a new partner. Offering top range security, providing robust cloud connectivity and offering fair, value based deals that aren’t locked-in all scored particularly highly.
So what do people really want?
It’s then, when you put these harder and softer benefits together that you start to get a full picture of what businesses would like their ideal colocation service provider to look like. They want a provider that:
- Provides more hand-holding
- Offers top-range security
- Acts as a bridge to cloud computing
- Speaks only in clear terms
- Offers fair value-based deals
- Generally works hand in hand with them to get things right
Overall, the IDG survey confirms that data centre colocation remains a sector where the service element could still be improved. The respondents pointed to many areas where they would like to see improvements to support future transitions. In doing so, they have also provided a really useful checklist of requirements that you might want to look at before entering a new colocation agreement.