Principal, Blackdog CFS
In turbulent budget times, many Corporations are forced into cuts in either or both operating and capital expense budgets as a way to ease a financial condition. These financial reduction directives are usually (but not always) issued after an internal examination of the fiscal condition of the company and they often come as a non-negotiable mandate affecting all departments equally.
It is our view that treating the compute environment…both the IT and facility segments of that environment…as co-equal with all other corporate operations is a mistake that will eventually lead to huge detrimental consequences and operational difficulties down the road.
Since the late 1980s, most Corporations have come under heavy, direct pressure from their industry, government oversight entities, stockholders, and their customer base to deliver an ever-broader spectrum and higher levels of continuous computing. Based on ever-changing business models and the absolute requirement to meet profitability goals, many Corporations have invested billions of dollars in capital upgrades to existing data centers and in the conceptualization, design, construction, and transition-to-operations of new, state of the art computing facilities.
As reliance on technology has grown in the past three decades, that growth curve has fostered an expectation on the part of every consumer of every industry and commercial service that there will be no disruptions to information delivery through the electronic services and features provided by a particular company. As the consumer has come to this expectation, Corporations have been faced with having to do all they can to guarantee and sustain continuous computing such that the ability to provide the expected continuous availability and access is now a hallmark that distinguishes any particular company against all competitors.
In a sense, the life-blood of a company has become its computing environment. The public expectation of continuous computing is now akin to our expectations of the continuous availability of electrical power, telephone, natural gas, and other services from our local utilities that we consider essential to our day-to-day existence.
Many Corporations now view continuous computing as the key ingredient to maintaining corporate viability in the marketplace. Said another way, a company’s position in its industry is maintained, in large part by, the focus on and investment in continuous computing.
Our view is that the complex operating expense (OpEx) budgets associated with the ownership and operation of critical facilities which encase the computing environment have been developed over time to represent the minimum level of funding in all categories required to successfully sustain compute operations.
If the lifeblood of a company is truly its compute environment, then it is our position that internal decisions to implement across-the-board budget cuts must include an exemption to cutting operational funding in the management of the computing environment in order to allow that environment to continue to operate using historically proven effective minimums.
In order to support that position, let’s look at the typical, high level operating budget framework.
We assume that the goals of a Corporation include 1) continuous computing and 2) driving risks to continuous computing to zero where possible. In consideration of the fact that the predominant factor in operations staff caused outages are related to ignorance of or non-compliance with established procedures, it makes no sense to allow any mandated budget cut to affect the training program that is the de-facto key element in eliminating these procedural errors from occurring during site activities.
In our view, as expressed above, computing is the lifeblood of any Corporation. The ability to achieve continuous computing distinguishes one company over its competitors, facilitates the company’s position and reputation in its industry, allows for avoidance of hefty regulatory scrutiny, fines, and penalties…all the while enhancing the financial bottom line.
Continuous computing is only achievable by having in place essential management capabilities, eg: adequate staffing headcount of high caliber employees, a consistently high level of training and operational preparedness, and an aggressive maintenance program…all of these coupled with adequately funded resources in every budget category.
Corporations should not include critical facilities in the mix when facility portfolios are required to cut operating expenses. With operating budgets already built around minimum levels required to meet existing continuous computing goals, it makes no sense to us for Corporations to even consider cutting critical facility operating expenses. It is tantamount to the abrogation of management responsibility to stockholders and stakeholders to do so.
About Us: Blackdog CFS (www.blackdogcfs.com ) is a Veteran Owned Business that provides industry-leading data center infrastructure and management consulting services. Our goal is to utilize our time-proven approach to critical facility operations to help your company realize your critical facility infrastructure operational continuity objectives.