Finding the Right Data Center Migration Partner Starts with Your RFP

by Steve Gunderson

With the economic downturn looking like a certainty, every IT decision really matters. External factors and changing business needs are going to come at us even more rapidly. Whether you’re confronted with mergers and acquisitions, regulatory changes, stricter security measures or implementing cloud deployments and dealing with aged or inadequate data centers, the demand for a reliable, adaptable cloud and data center infrastructure introduces almost persistent migrations.

But data center migrations bring numerous challenges, including:

1. Unknown application or other asset dependencies
2. Exhaustive discovery and validation efforts
3. Complex multi-vendor, organization-wide project management
4. Assessing & balancing competing requirements, schedules and constraints

Understanding how to overcome these challenges is key to a successful data center migration. Which means that finding the right partner for your data center migration couldn’t be more important.

As you seek out the right migration partner for your organization and its goals, it’s important to take the time to put together a solid RFP. It may be tempting to quickly throw together a list of requirements, repurpose previous RFPs or follow the standard set of questions put together by your procurement office.


Instead, think of the RFP as an opportunity to get everyone on your team – and across the business – aligned around your organizational goals and objectives for the project. Once you can articulate your goals, you can assess each vendor’s approach to your specific requirements and ensure you choose a vendor — and a solution — that will best fit your needs. And, asking potential vendors to provide detailed information early on can save your organization a lot of money and headaches down the road.

A good RFP will screen out the least qualified providers and enable you to focus on a short list of those responders who are a better fit. Depending on the amount of time you have and where you are in the budget cycle, it’s a good idea to collaborate with your short-listed firms to compare strategic options, establish budgets and develop an understanding of the work that will be required by your company’s migration team and business partners.

No matter how detailed or involved your RFP process, selecting the best partner will correlate directly with the quality of the questions in your RFP. Well-written questions will optimize your options and clearly differentiate the providers.

TDS has been moving and migrating infrastructure and applications since 2002. We’ve received and responded to hundreds of RFPs from organizations around the world seeking solutions to migrate, consolidate or relocate their data centers. Some of the RFPs are clear, detailed and provide the information to help us quickly understand the needs and present a tailored migration plan right for the organization.

But sometimes, critical questions are left off the list.

These are the questions that we think will make a difference in determining the right solution for the customer – and could make a difference in the success or failure of the project.

  • Are you asking questions that will tell you more about the vendor’s approach in detail – do their answers enable you to uncover what they really mean by a “proven methodology”?
  • Does the vendor exhibit progressive practices that will help your organization be agile and efficient in the number of migration events, the duration of each event, and the time it requires of your team?
  • Do they make good use of automation to sequence and ensure the efficient orchestration of the many human and automated tasks involved in a project like yours?
  • Is this their core area of expertise – or just one line of business among many for them? How will your organization benefit from their experience?
  • Do they outline a good communications plan for the project – one that will keep everyone informed, able to collaborate, and track progress?

Writing a good RFP is hard. But done well, it enables you to communicate effectively with vendors and begin the process of developing and meeting shared expectations for the project. It can reduce risk, prevent misunderstanding, and set the stage for a successful migration.

Bottom line, write a good RFP, and you’ll get some strong proposals and be able to choose your best migration partner.

Download the Guide: How to Write a Great RFP for your Data Center Migration/Consolidation.

Download the RFP Guide


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