An operations and maintenance (O&M) program determines to a large degree how well a data center lives up to its design intent. But even a well-performing program needs verification to avoid gaps and to drive continuous improvement throughout the life cycle of the facility.
How should you proceed? A data center facility operations maturity model (FOMM) is a useful method for determining the effectiveness of an O&M program.
Maturity model definition
A maturity model provides a detailed framework for analyzing all aspects of an existing O&M program. Applying the model allows facility teams to:
• monitor, measure, and report so that performance, efficiency, and resource-related problems can be avoided or identified early;
• make assessments for establishing benchmark performance;
• determine any necessary changes;
• pin down required steps to reach the desired level of performance.
Graphic 1: Assessing performance and O&M maturity are key tasks within the data center life cycle.
Impact on data center life cycle
While the primary focus of a facilities team is in the “Operate” phase, drawing upon that team’s expertise during early stages can help avoid poor design and construction choices.
1. The first O&M assessment should occur during commissioning for new data centers or as soon as possible for existing data centers.
2. Next, compare results against the goals for criticality, efficiency, and budget. Identify gaps and make decisions about any indicated program changes.
3. Once this benchmarking process has determined the level of O&M program maturity, assessments using the model should occur at regular intervals or whenever there is a major change in personnel, process, budget, or facility goals that might warrant a significant O&M program change.
Maturity model structure
The maturity model developed by Schneider Electric follows the form and function of the IT Governance Institute’s model, comprising seven core disciplines:
• Environmental Health & Safety Management
• Emergency Preparedness & Response
• Maintenance Management
• Site Management
• Operations Management
• Change Management
• Quality Management
Graphic 2: Each of the maturity model elements receives a grade of 1 to 5 (low to high level of operational maturity).
Each discipline contains operations-related elements and sub-elements; each sub-element receives a maturity level score on a scale of least mature (1) to most developed (5), based on specific criteria for each level. The scoring criteria and the model itself demonstrate how data centers today range from poorly managed to those with successful, proactive O&M programs.
Value to the business
A maturity model is an assessment tool that provides an understanding of a data center’s O&M program and its current state. With the goal of reducing performance risk, an assessment can help determine:
• What staff knowledge and capabilities exist
• How responsive and capable staff is at handling and mitigating critical events and emergencies
• Whether and to what degree a facility complies with regulations and safety requirements
• What risk operations and maintenance activities may represent
Many facilities teams find that they lack the time, expertise, or objective view to conduct an accurate assessment, and instead prefer to engage a third-party service provider with in-depth facility operations experience. In addition to assessment service, an experienced provider can leverage its experience with businesses that have similar requirements as well as delivering implementation oversight that may lead to a faster ROI.