Gartner gives tips on how to succeed with the FBI

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Companies are settling for 10 to 20 percent lower discounts on data centre convergence than could ultimately be achieved, Gartner has said.

The analyst house has now suggested that if companies develop a negotiating strategy backed by IT and procurement they could make many more savings.

It has also suggested that significant savings using fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) could be made. FBI, according to Gartner this is an emerging area of vertical integration of hardware and software infrastructure with automation on top. It is claimed to help IT organisations optimise data centre.

FBI differs from fabric-based computing (FBC) by enabling existing technology elements to be grouped and packaged in a fabric-enabled environment to achieve infrastructure convergence.

According to George Weiss, VP and analyst at Gartner IT procurement is often “relegated” to a subsidiary role after IT and business management has done most of the negotiations with the vendors. In some cases vendors will press users and IT to bypass competitive RFPs so as to expedite integration, shipment and setup of the service he said.

With FBI and converged infrastructures, the entire procurement process must be monitored and executed with careful guidelines, so that all parties involved in executing the deal understand what the deliverables, commitments and long-term implications of the FBI contract are, he explained.

In order to help businesses make the most of this and gain discounts of 20 percent the company has put together a list of steps.

Firstly it advises that the procurement department, which is negotiating terms and conditions ensures maximum discounts and benefits from the outset. If procurement managers are brought in after initial contacts and discussions with vendors, they will be constrained from generating changes or modifications to verbal agreements, or the procurement process will be extended well beyond the desired installation date, the company said.

It also suggests preparing a first-time evaluation process six months ahead of the desired date of contract acceptance to allow for visits to vendor sites, demos, evaluations, test runs and design validations.

Requiring a cross-functional team to be part of the evaluation process is also advised to ensure coordination in the service, as well as generating an RFI or RFP that reflects the IT department’s understanding of business goals in the short, medium and long term.

Designing the FBI RFP so that at least two suppliers can be engaged in a competitive evaluation will also help reduce costs with many offering different, more reasonably priced components to the overall service.

Making the testing and integration that vendors supply as part of the service a collaborative effort, with mutual agreement before shipment will help lay out costs and workloads, while not committing to timelines for additional purchases and data center expansion before milestones and support meet agreed commitments, will ensure a smoother process.

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