Top-of-Mind for Data Center Leaders: Alignment Between IT, Facilities & The Business
iMasons Advisory Council members discuss alignment between IT, facilities, and the business. (Yes, we are still talking about that.)
At our most recent Advisory Council meeting, many of the members (five end users and eight partners) reported that alignment between IT, facilities, and the business – that challenge as old as the data center itself – remains an issue.
A whitepaper by CIO Magazine explained well the source of the misalignment:
“IT and facilities have historically been worlds apart. IT leadership has a mandate to build out infrastructure to store and manage information flow and support key business strategies. Facilities grew out of a real-estate function with a charter to oversee HVAC, lighting, security, and other building-specific systems. The clear delineation of labor gave birth to separate organizations, each with different priorities and best practices. The two groups rarely interacted or shared data unless a problem arose, and siloed systems and separate networks ensured there was little transparency across functions.”
One end user explained his challenge as a question: “How do I align the different infrastructure layers and the people who are consuming those resources – how can I ensure that what’s being built is actually solving the problem and is optimized to meet the needs of my customers?”
“How can I ensure that what’s being built is actually solving the problem and is optimized to meet the needs of my customers?” – Click to tweet
One partner explained how his company aims to facilitate alignment by helping customers “understand their foundation and vision.” He explained, “Connecting those two dots is the strategy. As a solution provider I try to help where I can by posing questions but if you don’t have the foundation and vision, and as a result we push the wrong solutions, then we’ve missed the target and there are negative ramifications.”
In response, one end user asked, “How many customers actually have that strategy?” The partner responded, “Zero have foundation and vision aligned. It’s the classic ‘facilities versus IT’ dilemma. What are the motivations, how aligned are they, who’s governing it, where does the money come from and where does it go? That’s what keeps me awake at night.”
“It’s the classic ‘facilities versus IT’ dilemma. That’s what keeps me awake at night.” – Click to tweet
None of the Advisory Council members proclaimed to have a panacea for misalignment between IT, facilities, and the business. But there was broad agreement about the importance of alignment, especially as the lines between IT, facilities, and the business blur – in this world where every business is a tech business and the ‘facility’ is everywhere.
Come back next week for the 7th installment in our top-of-mind series and hear from the Advisory Council members on the continuing importance of innovation. “What got us here today – what got us 20x growth over the last decade – is not going to get us our next 20x growth.”
Previous posts in the top-of-mind series
Infrastructure Masons was established to provide infrastructure executives and technical professionals an independent forum to connect, grow and give back. If you’re not already a member, learn the benefits of joining at https://imasons.org/join/.