Procuring Facilities

[This is part of a series of posts describing how IT contracting compares and contrasts with  the structure described in the PMBOK.]

Enterprises occasionally have a need to place some infrastructure in a different geography. An example would be a growing company needing to place infrastructure closer to a client set to sustain services performance in the face of rapidly expanding client demand.

With the great rise of public cloud service providers and hosting services, the need to arrange specific hardware in a specific location has somewhat diminished.  However, clients with interesting connection requirements or strict data proximity constraints will continue to drive the need for placing hardware in specific locations.

IT equipment requires a home that is hospitable, accessible, and secure.  Putting infrastructure in a specific geography requires some kind of hosting facility.  Acquiring or contracting facilities is often a project in its own right.  Analyzed through the procurement lens used in the PMBOK, facilities contracting would be considered unit-based.  The lease, utility, and operational contracts are based on square feet, power consumption, water consumption, air-conditioning load, etc.

There are a large number of businesses today that offer co-location services.  This service provides secured space in a shared data center with a tailored amount of supporting technical services.

When the organization has no physical presence in the target geography, and when cloud, hosting, and collocation providers don’t fit the requirements, procuring a small amount of facility space can lead to great creativity.  The organization may look first to see if it has any reliable clients, customers, partners, or suppliers with private data center space in that location.  Many IT organizations are experienced with hosting a secured corner of a data center for other parties as a revenue producing activity.  Some telecommunications firms will lease space close to their connection centers.  Finally, the organization may search for reliable but unrelated “neutral” firms with data center space.  The unit pricing model for these procurements may be straight forward.  However, the “devil is in the details” in the terms and conditions covering who will have what kind of access to the facility and the equipment under what circumstances.

Procuring a large amount of facility space becomes a real estate project with all the complexities associated.  Procuring a truly large amount of facility space becomes a real estate and construction project.  These are beyond the scope of my posting here today.

[I welcome your comments and feedback based on your experience managing IT real estate projects or procuring facilities.  Feel free to contact me directly.]

(Image courtesy of stevepb at Pixabay.)



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  1. Pingback: IT Contracting in the Real World | Carl Gusler

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