In a recent blog titled “The State of Post-Pandemic Data Center IT Services,” we addressed an issue that McKinsey and Company refers to as “the great attrition.” For a variety of reasons, the pandemic has left the mission critical IT workforce with fewer resources than before it began. This lack of human resources has precipitated a shift toward using smart hands or remote hands to augment IT staff and compensate for staffing shortages.
Based on our work supporting clients with national data center portfolios, we have compiled a list of the top data you will need to have available to get a smart hands engagement started. If you are considering an IT site services or smart hands model, here is some due diligence you can perform to get an engagement started off on the right foot.
We recommend gathering information in the following 8 categories:
- List of Locations: Understanding the number of sites, location of sites, and the size of the sites will help define the overall scope of the engagement.
- Access: Understanding the company’s access control process for vendors will ensure workers access to the facility without creating delays.
- Point of Contact: Particularly for remote locations complete POC information is needed for scheduling, coordination, and for any onsite issues that might arise during the course work.
- MOPs/SOPs Documents: An understanding of existing methods of procedure ensures that your organization’s expectations by following the proper safety and backout procedures.
- Available Tools and Supplies: Inventory of all available data center IT tools to support work tasks.
- Crash carts; keyboard, mouse, monitor
- Invertible fork/tray server lifts
- Copper/fiber test kits to include visual fault locators and light meters
- Rack cage nuts and screws
- Hand tools to include cordless drill drivers, pliers, screw drivers etc.
- Label makers and label stock
- 12/3 extension cords
- Zip ties
- Spare Cabling Supplies: Inventory stock levels of single-mode, multi-mode, and copper cabling of various lengths on hand for support and or deployment tasks.
- Spare Device Hardware: Inventory of various field replaceable hardware. Hard drives, RAM, line cards, SFPs, power supplies etc.
- Cabling Standards: Having a copy of your company’s Cable Standards Guide will ensure consistency in the work provided by the site services team.
In addition to the above information, having your work ticket history will help determine what types of roles need to be filled in which locations. The volume of your tickets will provide clues to areas that need attention, and the nature of those tickets – whether they are for scheduled work or immediate response – will help your provider understand trouble patterns and the kind of work that is taking place.