Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes When Choosing a Colocation Provider

shutterstock_114059095As business needs expand and markets fluctuate, the benefits of colocation services are becoming widely recognized. Colocation services can offer businesses substantial cost savings in infrastructure development, as well as providing enhanced capabilities for companies with limited in-house IT personnel.

Yet, as advantageous as it is, occasionally a company can experience negative results when transitioning to a colocation provider. And although making the wrong colocation decision can be extremely frustrating and expensive, businesses can avoid such issues by employing a few simple guidelines before signing the contract.

Mistake #1: Lack of Proper Power Structure Planning

Business methodologies typically involve achieving the maximum amount of output from the smallest amount of resources. However, when power structure planning is involved, adhering to this type of philosophy can create problems. For example, many Windows-based servers will regularly reboot and all at the same time. The heightened power surge can trip breakers if the structure is only built to maintain normal usage, and this can shut down the system. The same surge may occur as soon as a technician attempts a restart, as well.

Businesses without personnel to accurately determine correct power structure requirements should rely on the expert advice of the colocation provider. Some minimum power source requirements include conditioning and redundancy, but a reliable provider can help ascertain any particular necessities.

Mistake #2: Inadequate Network Planning

Here again, if a company does not have the internal human resources to assist in the network set-up and colocation planning stages, request professional guidance for building an adequate infrastructure.

Best practices include:

  • An infrastructure network that can support rapid application growth
  • Increase as data storage requirements expand
  • Optimize server-processing resources
  • Secure critical data

Businesses should seek a colocation provider that maintains an operational test lab and employs expert IT staff who can help examine and isolate the needs of the organization.

Mistake #3: Lack of Monitoring

Regular system maintenance and monitoring is crucial for colocation success. Sporadic and untracked surges in bandwidth consumption can crash the system.

For example, if someone initiates an informal promotion of the business on a social media outlet or in a public forum, large amounts of user traffic can result. Without proper monitoring of bandwidth consumption, sites can crash. Likewise, a malicious or hacktivist attack to a system or site can spike bandwidth usage.

A reputable colocation provider should monitor bandwidth usage and provide additional cloud storage availability for immediate boosting capabilities when required. Businesses that ask the right questions and plan correctly can make moving infrastructure to a colocation provider a trouble-free process.

Maximize Unified Communications Adoption with Training

shutterstock_189620384Unified Communications (UC) offers increased efficiencies in employee interactions and collaboration. While many UC tools offer significant benefits, an incomplete deployment process can result in UC tools going unused.

A properly executed training program can increase user adoption of UC. To get the most out of UC, companies should consider employee user needs and habits, and provide targeted training before, during, and after UC tools are in place. The steps below can aid user adoption to help ensure the success of UC deployments.

 

Step 1 – Consider Preferences

Gather end-user input throughout the entire process. Absent end-user input, companies may deploy tools that look good on paper, but aren’t practical for employees. Employees are unlikely to adopt tools they don’t find useful, resulting in a wasted investment.

Step 2 – Assess Needs

Research indicates that video conferencing and social collaboration tools are being widely deployed but usage rates are low. Employees also indicate they are only likely to use half the features of any communications tool. Taking these preferences and usage patterns into account can ensure that the tools most likely to be used are chosen at the outset.

Step 3 – Prioritize Training

While many companies invest considerable time and money into deploying Unified Communications technology, many neglect to provide sufficient training. To get the most out of the investment, companies should implement a program that demonstrates the benefits of these tools, and conduct employee training on how to use the tools effectively.

Step 4 – Understand Users

The most important step to encouraging user adoption of any new tool is to accept that most users will not be enthusiastic about switching from something familiar and trusted to something new and unknown. The change to new technology is about changing user behavior. This takes time.

The Lazy User Model of Solution Selection, known as LUM, theorizes that when presented with different solutions, users will choose the one that requires the least amount of effort to satisfy a particular need. Sometimes, this means employees will not willingly choose to migrate to a new communications tool. Simply training employees on how to use the tool is not enough. Administrators should also explain how the tools will increase productivity and ultimately make employees’ lives easier.

Step 5 – Diversify Training

There are many different ways to provide information and training to maximize adoption and usage of new tools. Implementing and offering just one type of training may limit who benefits. Diversifying training methods increases the possibility of connecting with the highest number of employees and departments.

Step 6 – Monitor Usage

In the deployment and training phase of any new technology implementation, it is useful to set adoption goals and then quantify employee usage. This information allows administrators to change or introduce new types of training that can help increase adoption and usage. Implementing training that is responsive to employee needs and concerns is crucial to the successful implementation of any new tool.

Soliciting user feedback, then following through with policies that capitalize on the positives of the implementation, while changing policies that aren’t working is important. Companies should gather feedback before, during, and after deployment, in order to make appropriate changes in training to ensure UC deployment success.