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Posted by Richard Fichera on January 21, 2013
I was part of a Forrester Team that recently completed a multi-country rollout tour with Emerson Network Power as they formally released their Trellis DCIM product, a comprehensive DCIM environment many years in the building. One of the key takeaways was both an affirmation of our fundamental assertions about DCIM, plus hints about its popularity and attraction for potential customers that in some ways expand on the original value proposition we envisioned. Our audiences were in total approximately 500 selected data center users, most current Emerson customers of some sort, plus various partners.
The audiences uniformly supported the fundamental thesis around DCIM – there exists a strong underlying demand for integrated DCIM products, with a strong proximal emphasis on optimizing power and cooling to save opex and avoid the major disruption and capex of new data center capacity. Additionally, the composition of the audiences supported our contention that these tools would have multiple stakeholders in the enterprise. As expected, the groups were heavy with core Infrastructure & Operations types – the people who have to plan, provision and operate the data center infrastructure to deliver the services needed for their company’s operations. What was heartening was the strong minority presence of facilities people, ranging from 10% to 30% of the attendees, along with a sprinkling of corporate finance and real-estate executives. Informal conversations with a number of these people gave us consistent input that they understood the need, and in some cases were formerly tasked by their executives, to work more closely with the I&O group. All expressed the desire for an integrated tool to help with this.
One area that surprised us was the prominence of asset management as a discussion topic for the panel discussions and the consistency of the stories and issues. Although Forrester has cited asset management as a benefit and core function for DCIM in previous reports, it was not reported as a primary driver and received little additional focus. I would still hesitate to classify it as a primary driver like the cost savings associated with power optimization, but it appears to have strong impacts to multiple constituencies in the enterprise. In our panel sessions, the discussions around asset management almost always came back to the same common themes:
Another area that caught our attention was the complexity and mutability of stakeholder communities. We noted several DCIM users citing that the number of licensed users for their DCIM implementations tended to expand over time, with the oldest established user of a precursor product called Aperture (currently moving to Trellis), citing an increase in his user community from 75 to over 800 (the company is a multi-billion dollar integration and service company), and spreading from traditional operations and facilities users to finance, marketing, sales and strategic planning. This was an interesting validation for the premise that these tools are useful across a wide range of constituencies once they are installed and opened up to other groups.
All in all we came away heartened by the enthusiasm of the groups for the basic premise of DCIM – regardless of the fact that this audience was selected because they were expected to have an interest, what we heard was very pragmatic (“How do I get this?” “How do I use it?” and “What can I expect in the way of benefits?”), with essentially 100% recognition of the underlying problem.
All things considered, a very receptive environment in which to be selling a new product. Potential users should expect rapid evolution of product features and very heavy competition.
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