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Four facilities
management
strategies to optimize
data center costs

Improve reliability while lowering total cost of ownership for your data centers

May 18, 2021

From the ubiquitous Zoom meeting to online grocery shopping, COVID-19 dramatically intensified our reliance on online resources and virtual connectivity—and, in turn, the data centers that make those possible. The ability to provide the 100% reliable service that businesses and consumers now require has never been more critical. And the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G implementation will only increase demand for resilient, reliable data centers. To fully capitalize on this fast-tracked boom, data center owners and users alike can benefit from facility management (FM) best practices to optimize costs and meet this growing need.

Leading FM practices can reduce costs in several ways and ultimately boost data center margins and profitability. Next-generation maintenance strategies, for example, improve reliability—but also reduce capital expenses and allow for more accurate capital planning. And these practices also improve energy efficiency, support carbon emissions and ESG targets and reduce operating expenses. FM automation increases staff productivity and reduces the risk of human errors, the top cause of data center downtime.

By embracing today’s leading FM practices, data center owners and operators can make data-informed decisions to reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO). For colocation providers, strategic FM can also be a differentiator, creating a competitive edge in a crowded market by extending value to end users.

So, how can you achieve the best of both operational worlds—improved uptime along with lower cost of ownership?

Rather than maintenance-by-schedule, preventive maintenance leverages sophisticated IoT diagnostic tools to gather and analyze real-time data that tracks equipment vibration, heat generation and other indicators of equipment condition.

Four best practices for profitable data center facilities management

To achieve lower data center operating costs while maintaining availability, quality and productivity, ensure your team is ready to adopt the following best practices:

1. Embrace next-generation preventive maintenance. Traditional FM maintenance programs focus on equipment service, upgrades and replacement schedules dictated by equipment manufacturers or corporate standards. However, the conventional, calendar-based approach adds to capital expenses when technicians are required to replace equipment regardless of its condition, or when emergency repairs are needed because parts deteriorate ahead of the preset maintenance schedule.

In contrast, next-generation maintenance is driven by criticality and condition.

Human expertise is augmented by data analytics and algorithms that detect performance anomalies not visible by human perception alone.

These tech-driven management strategies can actually reduce the risk of equipment malfunctions and downtime. Data-driven early indicators enable engineers to identify and remediate issues before any risk of downtime. In turn, preventive maintenance extends equipment life and supports more accurate capital planning than calendar-centric maintenance.

These aren‘t small feats, considering the high cost of emergency equipment repairs—especially if you add in the ancillary costs of business disruption, downtime and reputational damage. By managing equipment with the right maintenance strategies, at the right time, data center operators can reduce capital and operating expenses, and—most important—improve uptime.

2. Power workflow productivity with technology. In critical environment maintenance, even a simple mistake can lead to costly downtime—and most errors are human-made. Advanced FM software, however, minimizes the opportunities for costly human error by automating data center operations and centralizing and standardizing information.

For example, Corrigo, a robust computerized maintenance management system, helps FM leaders centralize operations, asset and work-order management, and maintenance data with analytics. This maximizes personnel productivity while improving accuracy and reliability. Integrating real-time information on work orders, invoicing, payment remittance and other activities can help technicians stay in control while generating savings.

When a facilities team is focused on desired outcomes, such as specific uptime and cost savings targets, it is better positioned to add business value than if it is merely focused on a checklist of activities.

3. Align people, processes and equipment around standards compliance. Effective FM teams consistently measure compliance across internal, industry and regulatory standards. Using a strong compliance tool empowers data center facilities teams to verify that all standards—from operations and maintenance to staffing and training—are being met at any given site, with consistent deployment, management and measuring protocols.

A compliance-centric approach can be a major differentiator for colocation data center operators looking to attract tenants, as strong operational standards help safeguard against changes in environment, maintenance or other risks that could cause outages. Clear and effective standards also ensure that no site is over- or under-staffed, and that personnel are trained properly. Operating within compliance standards reduces risks, and that translates into cost savings.

4. Align FM performance outcomes with organizational strategy. Forward-looking data center leaders are deriving more value from their facilities teams by moving toward strategic partnerships with FM. 

Get more out of your data center facilities management

In critical data center environments, resilient, 100% uptime is a necessity—but it needn’t require higher operational costs. By incorporating best practices into your data center facility management, you can lower the total cost of ownership, while boosting the reliability of the digital infrastructure that powers your business.

To learn more about how effective data center facility management optimizes your total cost of ownership, reach out to a JLL expert today.