Previous Dilemma: Who’s in Charge?

September 9, 2010 Nlyte Software


In the August issue of The DCIM Advisory, a reader posed a dilemma on how data center management should function in regard to IT and facilities management. Here are the insightful and provocative responses from data center professionals across the globe.



Struggles between IT and facilities management

We are looking at ways to make data centers more efficient so lots of decisions are on the table. The efficiency decisions take a back seat to WHO gets to make them.
I have some ideas about how to fix this problem and would like my peers input.

Would it be better to have data centers managers function more like project managers and facilitate decisions and tasks needs in both areas, or should we rework data center management roles and reporting structure so they have the authority to make decisions in both areas?

— Bill K., VP of data center management


Four ways to reduce conflict between IT and facilities management

When departmental feuds happen, the toll on an organization, in terms of money and people, can be high. The employees’ attitude typically reflects how the boss feels, which can get in the way of the spirit of cooperation and teamwork. People in this situation spend more time and energy managing the conflict than getting things done.

Our readers understand this dilemma first hand and offer up four ideas to resolve this awkward situation:

• Rely on emerging technology.

• Build the team.

• Use a project management process.

• Put IT in charge — or not!

Rely on emerging technology

 How does technology fit into what appears to be a people dilemma? Dennis Kniery, manager of energy programs at DFW Consulting Inc. (AT&T), thinks hi-tech may help both sides of the situation. “There’s a great emerging technology using wireless temperature monitoring that creates a common ‘intersection’ opportunity where the IT and facility folks can have a conversation about a picture both understand. I expect some day to see that this creation of a common connection, when expanded to other areas, will create a breakthrough improvement where both sides are better.”

Build the team

Don’t forget team building, cautions, Jeff Mackey, energy advisor at Franklin Energy Services. “We organize an energy team comprised of members from facilities and IT. The team is responsible for identifying cost saving and energy-efficiency projects. Assigning dotted-line responsibility for the energy budget to both groups can also help align priorities.”

Kniery agrees. “Having a meeting intended to create team building, where each side can express its challenges, can be extremely effective. I attended one a few years back, and all agreed it was beneficial and worth repeating.”


This is an excerpt from The DCIM Advisory Monthly Dilemma article where data center professionals ask their peers for advice on today’s data center issues.  Check back for more on this solution next week.



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