We’ve been in the IT documentation and visualization business for so long that I remember a time before Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) was even coined: we were in the network and data center rack and cabling documentation business back in the early 2000’s and I remember sitting down with our Marketing Director who said, “there’s this new acronym that is starting to appear from a company called Aperture…who may have started the DCIM movement.” Disclaimer: don’t not quote me on that — this is just my recollection 20 years later. I believe Aperture was later acquired by Emerson, then spun off with Vertiv — who sells many DCIM offerings (Trellis, Avocent. Confusing, right?

To go back to my story, the first question I often get from organizations is: “how much does netTerrain DCIM cost?”

What worries me, and where the mistake is, is that folks asking this are failing to, first and foremost, learn how software like netTerrain can help them solve their issues, or even why they need a DCIM solution in the first place: they want to know what the cost is, first and foremost. I get that…

Yes, price is a huge factor when you need to get funding for your DCIM project. But — even before trying to get a price from your DCIM vendor and scheduling a one-hour demo — can we go over your requirements to see what are the problems that you are trying to solve with your DCIM project?

To give you a little embarrassing history: as DCIM vendors, we used to show everyone our entire DCIM features list, we used to show them a whole canned PowerPoint presentation deck to wow, impress, and hope that one of the features we showed was the ‘wow’ factor.

You know what we learned from that? We had to stop.

We had to stop because the best way to buy, and sell, DCIM software is to discuss pain points. Afterall, what is DCIM? It’s software that solves IT pain. What pain points do you need to solve: capacity problems, for example? Cabling? That’s what you need to know right up front: can the solution solve my headaches? As vendors, we need to show you exactly how our software will solve your problems — and if our software can’t (which is possible as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution on the market), we need to be upfront. Talking about pain points first saves you, and your vendor, a great deal of time and effort up front.

So…what’s more important than price?

It’s this: what are you really trying to solve in the first place> For example, are any of the following your pain points?

Fed up with unnecessary IT spending?

Don’t have an idea on what’s inside your data center? Need to keep track of all of your assets, find information about warranty, cost? With a DCIM solution, you can control your inventory and eliminate redundant IT equipment and power.

Headaches from outdated diagrams and spreadsheets?

Instead of using lots of spreadsheets and Visio diagrams that are scattered everywhere and don’t know when they were last updated and hard to search for information quickly, can we automate the data center diagrams and data, so they are kept up to date?

Spending too much time and money on cabling issues?

How can we keep track and of all of the fiber and copper cabling inside the data centers and inside the buildings to help manage capacity and seamlessly track cable and circuit changes?

Fielding skyrocketing power costs…but limited by a lack of information?

How can you reduce energy expenditures up to 30% and analyze data center power consumption by a day, week, month, or the year?

So, do any of the above items resonate with you?

If yes, are they a big enough deal to make it worth finding a DCIM solution? Is this something you are committed to do now? If so, then keep these pain points at the top of the discussion with any potential DCIM vendor you meet. Then, by all means, discuss price — but don’t let price guide you into a solution that will end up being a waste of money because it doesn’t solve your issues. And, speaking of price, our software (netTerrain DCIM) is priced by the number of devices (physical chassis equipment that usually contains ports and are inside a data center rack like patch panels, servers, routers, switches, power strips, PDUs, UPS, generators, etc.). If you’d like to request a 15-minute no-pressure discovery call, click here now to sign up.

About Fred Koh

As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.