Timely advice and valuable technical insight can be the catalyst to realising the swift return on any investment decision. Richard Clifford, Head of Solutions at Keysource, the global data centre and critical environment specialist, explains.
With the current COVID-19 situation, organisations are under increasing pressure to consider their current real estate position. Whilst this might be challenging times for operators of office space, it does present a great opportunity for data centre operators and investors as there is a renewed focus on the sector as remote working, in some form, is likely to remain part of the new normal and a subsequent reduction in office real estate seems inevitable.
We are working with several organisations to ensure they can take advantage of the opportunities now being presented to them and are reviewing a number of scenarios to realise, and maximise their returns. These include:
- reviewing their need for office space, and in turn what to do with their on-premise IT Infrastructure / datacentres if remote working is embraced.
- benchmarking and then consolidating a regional or global estate.
- assessing the dilapidation of legacy sites that are being mothballed.
- reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency of a legacy facilities.
- auditing and assessing critical datacentre space against best practise standards to bring them up to scratch and maximise uptime.
- evaluating the feasibility of an investment in a new facility, upgrading a legacy site or transforming into a hybrid data centre service model, such as on-premise, CoLo, Cloud).
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In some cases, we act as a Technical Design Guardian, overseeing the project on behalf of the client and for others we are providing preconstruction services to enable organisations to get an independent evaluation of every aspect of the project before it begins. to highlight and mitigate delivery or commercial risks.
However, many organisations do not get expert advice early enough and some choose to sidestep this part of the process entirely. I believe that this can be a false economy that can add significant additional costs and create issues with project delivery, especially within live environments. Ultimately this will impact the client / investor leading and the value of, and timeframe, for the return on investment.
At Keysource we are trusted in the sector to provide a full range of advisory and due diligence services to support the full lifecycle of our clients’ investments and datacentre estate. As a designer, builder and operator of critical datacentre environments this allows us to look at the big picture…
University of Leicester – maximising return
For example, we have recently delivered some real estate consultancy for the University of Leicester. We were tasked with maximising the return from their real-estate, whilst also reviewing their IT Transformation strategy to ensure it has been optimised to overcome today’s challenges. We delivered a multi-disciplinary programme designed to engage all stakeholders at the University and the team looked at likely capacity scenarios and requirements alongside budget availability and constraints. Various options available to the University were considered, including the development of technical requirements and a review of on-premise locations with cost modelling and comparison with off premise colocation options.
Datum Data Centres – mitigating risk
Earlier this year we undertook a preconstruction project with a leading provider of data centre and co-location services, Datum Data Centres which enabled them to develop a detailed specification and required delivery methodology for the construction phase. We started the project by undertaking a needs analysis which established a detailed brief and performance specification for stakeholder agreement and senior level approval. The next stage was to develop concept solutions to meet the brief, including associated commercial, technical and delivery related considerations and identifying risk. Finally, we developed the preferred design, construction phase plan and commercial schedules.
Importantly this pre-construction service evaluated different approaches to deliver the required performance specification giving Datum the ability to mitigate risk associated with the project, whilst having the flexibility to make commercial decisions through the process.
Namos Datcenter AS – securing additional investment
Last year we successfully delivered a commercial due diligence and business case development project with an up-and-coming international provider of edge data centres and co-location services, Namsos Datacenter AS, based in Norway. This service helped Namsos to validate their plans, developing a clear business case and strategy and subsequently securing additional investment
We started the project by undertaking a needs analysis to understand their existing plans, the feasibility of the proposed location and their business strategy. The next stage was to validate the concept solutions to meet the brief, including associated commercial, technical and delivery related considerations and identifying risk. Finally, we validated the cost modelling and continued in an advisory capacity with regards to the business, discussions with Namsos’ clients and potential investors.
This due diligence and business case service evaluated key early-stage markers including: Site, Geography, Technical Feasibility, Market Demand, Cost Modelling and Approach to ensure a clear vision, with minimal risk and flexibility in the approach.
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