Implementing DCOS (Data Centre Operations Standard); A Practical Approach

DCOS is the world’s first complete data centre operations standard. DCOS addresses 11 process domains and 5 maturity levels which at first sight can be overwhelming for some organisations who consider improving their data centre operations based on the DCOS. In practice however, it is not as difficult as it seems; the keyword is progressive process and maturity level improvement which is at the heart of any DCOS implementation.

The DCOS is an excellent reference for data centres on operational process improvement. When implementing DCOS it is recommended to follow a progressive approach by focusing first on areas where a quick win can be achieved or a process domain which creates the best business value and identifying a maturity target level that is realistically achievable.

For example, if lately the service levels of service providers performing maintenance has fallen below expectations resulting in equipment failure which led to costly downtime, choose the ‘Facilities Maintenance’ domain as a starting point. Study the chapter and break it down to logical groups so that the subject matter experts can focus on the clauses to determine the current baseline/performance. Once the identification process is completed, an in-depth analysis takes place to identify potential shortcomings. The outcome of the gap analysis is then used to propose actions in line with the desired maturity level. With an action plan in place, improvements can be gradually implemented.

Once Facilities Maintenance improvements have been realised, the organization can pick another domain of interest, making further improvements to data centre operations and/or increasing maturity levels, as and when it feels doing so will deliver added value to the organization.

An organization with the desire to adopt DCOS as a standard with the objective of certification, may also follow a progressive approach. The data centre organisation selects the domains that will add value to the organisation, including the associated desired maturity level which will determine the scope of the certification.

Contrary to self-declared conformity following DCOS, certification has many benefits; conducted by experienced auditors, its result is based on an independent review. The audit can assist the organisation in justifying investments to further improve operations which will deliver the following benefits:

–         Reduction of risk
–         Improved efficiency leading to cost reduction
–         Support in compliance and/or regulations
–         Increased customer trust and consistent service levels
–         Competitive edge