The current hypercompetitive digital economy is pushing companies to find innovative ways of increasing efficiency and accelerating growth.
As business growth goes hand in hand with technological advancement, a company’s IT infrastructure has become a vital asset that can be a massive competitive advantage or debilitating weakness.
Because businesses are generating and collecting huge amounts of information, data centres have become top priorities. This is in contrast to the past. Facilities were once seen as financial black holes. No one really understood what they did for the business.
Now they have become critical for the day to day operations of an enterprise as any activity interruptions can bring the business to its knees.
As a result, an increasing number of CFOs are now moving data centres to the top of their priority lists, trying to understand how these facilities could be run as efficiently as possible, and what creative innovations can be deployed to increase performance.
The first step in assessing a data centre’s efficiency is evaluating its total cost, including capital and operating expenses for procuring, installing and managing all the hardware pieces and software platforms. This is an important piece of the puzzle as it reveals a data centre’s true business value.
The CFO can easily compare the facility’s costs with the business benefits it generates for the organisation. Also, they can compare each expense with the profit and business value they would get if the respective sum was invested in a different area of the business or a new growth opportunity.
Next on the list are the engineering capabilities. Depending on the data centre’s design and location CFOs should work together with the CIO to understand key metrics such as annual average PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), water consumption, CO2 emissions and energy costs.
These elements are important because running and managing a data centre is increasingly expensive but also because the industry is now under closer scrutiny due to its impact on the environment. In fact, many investors will not support companies that don’t have clear environmental priorities and policies.
Successful CFOs always aim to provide maximum value for each investment they approve but assessing a data centre’s complex environment and deciding which are the best solutions to increase efficiency with minimum resources is not an easy feat.
The effort needed to understand the facility’s true costs, normalising and then comparing these costs in a highly complicated ecosystem, involves many variables and substantial resources.
Thankfully, nowadays, CFOs can access razor sharp intelligence through smart analytics and Machine Learning platforms that show how each option and decision could affect the facility’s performance or future development. In this way CFOs can quickly identify what areas need improving, potential savings that could be made and also a means to make decisions that best increase efficiency and deliver maximum ROI.
The efficient and innovative use of technology is one of the most powerful assets in a CFO’s toolkit. By understanding the company’s strategic targets and also its IT capabilities CFOs are in a privileged position that empowers them to drive profitability and become an essential catalyst for business transformation.
Danny Reeves, CEO, Romonet