Time is money:

How Configure-to-Order servers enhance your competitive advantage

The survival of the fastest: make-do or make a mark?

The operations of all digital service providers, of any type, involve a critical reliance on servers; getting them right to make sure they’ll perform the role required of them, and also that they can endure, to enable expanding and evolving end-user usage.

It would be ideal if there were a quick, off-the-shelf, solution to the challenge of custom configuration requirements. Some of the biggest vendors in the world would assure you that there is. Just go online and you’ll find a server to fit. The dichotomy is that the global success of these vendors is based on bulk production. While they may not suggest that one size fits all, they certainly imply that a relatively select range of standard part numbers will fit most.

You might end up with a server that’s a bit over- or under-specified; like using a nail when you really know that what was needed was a screw, but you happened not to have one available at the moment you needed it. All too often you settle for this as it is the route of least resistance. Some of the time, it might work; fingers crossed. Should digital service providers be saddled with that risk? If the nail doesn’t hold, neither will your reputation for service excellence.

More importantly, successful service that creates customer satisfaction depends on provisioning and delivering servers rapidly to meet customer requirements. Speed of response is important so that, as a service provider, you can not only fulfil your service promise, but also that the installation can start to generate revenue at the earliest possible opportunity.

Nothing new in that. What is new, is the extreme agility demanded of this entire process in a world where growth in data is relentless, and days lost can mean a break in customer service and even a break-down in hard-won customer relationships.

Technology is a cruel world. The pace it moves at is such that if you can’t deliver precisely what customers require, with as close-to-zero delay as is humanly possible, somebody else will; your competitors.

 

Creating a lean, mean, reliable machine

Turning to the competitive advantage then, it’s all about relevance; delivering what customers want and what they essentially need. Any digital service provider wishing to rise above market norms, break the mould, and gain or consolidate a reputation for responsiveness and relevance to real-world requirements from customers – who are, themselves, constantly looking to stand out in the crowd – has to do things differently. This is the essence of innovation, and it’s certainly the driving force of technology.

Far from there being an off-the-shelf solution that can embrace limitless permutations of end customer requirements, there’s an infinite matrix of potential configurations. The problem is that digital service providers often have neither the time, nor the resource, to pin them down and then to act upon them.

Yet here is where differentiation lies; here’s where there is an opportunity to be different, and to serve better. “What about the time involved in all that?” I can almost hear you asking. If speed is of the essence, how can getting down and personal with each server possibly fit within a pressing project timeline?

 

Demystifying the server myth: Keep it simple

The answer lies in how a server is made up and, more pertinently, who makes it up. We all know that any computer system is constructed from a set of common building blocks, from processors to storage to network connectivity. When there are dozens of permutations, there’s more complexity in specifying a solution. I’ll be looking closely at what goes on inside the box, or the chassis, in my next blog, so stay tuned.

Each component can be specified individually. Multiply each component by the numbers of options available in all the other components, and the potential matrix of configurations rapidly expands. This is a service your customers expect of you; to deliver the combination of components that will serve their business with maximum efficiency, scalability and scope. This is a service that makes you stand out.

If a vendor undertakes to configure a server that is outside of its standard product offering, time becomes a big factor. This is not bulk business, it’s bespoke, or tailor-made. ‘Tailor-made’ just reeks of extra cost. It’s outside the norm of operations for a vendor. It slows things up. Both the costs and extra time are passed on to the digital service provider; you, their customer. It’s not unusual to expect a delay time of anything up to six weeks if you seek to obtain a server configured to ‘non-standard’ specifications.

 

So many variations, so little time

The solution is to use a resource that is dedicated to servers configured entirely in line with your specifications. I’ve found one, and I work there. Excotek was founded on the principle that every customer is different and deserves to be treated differently.

To make this possible we don’t hold pre-configured servers in stock. We hold the chassis and the individual components. Ready, in the warehouse, to be called off in response to your order and assembled, tested, packed and despatched in lighting quick time. That’s no exaggeration. We quote usually within the hour. Once the quote is accepted, the chassis is on the bench ready for assembly.

The result is that we deliver servers configured to order within three days as a norm. Our quality control tests and assurance are backed up with the same manufacturer’s warranty you would have received had you gone direct, without the wait. Compare that with three to six weeks. In fact, compare it to what your competitors are doing, and you’ll see what a difference you can make to your service, your reputation, and your ability to accelerate time to revenue.


I’d welcome the opportunity to hear about the delays and problems you encounter when looking for faster response to fit-for-purpose server supply. Please get in touch any time at [email protected]


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