Google Vs Insight

10 March 2017

Interesting client situation this week.  Received a call from a client who was in desperate need of some colocation space.  The call went like this:


“Phil, I’m in desperate need of somewhere to dump my IT infrastructure as I’m moving offices.  I need a bit of space for 6 months to keep the lights on whilst I refurb my new site”

“No problem, I’ve got loads of colocation providers on the books.  Can you answer these questions…?”

I then proceeded to extract the client’s requirements based on our knowledge of colocation needs.  Interpreting their headline overview; we established the priorities, technical need, key buying criteria (price, and speed of delivery), and a few other bits besides.  Armed with this, we went off on our way, spoke to the relevant providers and got some indicative pricing based on what the client wanted.  I presented back the pricing.

“Phil, I just Googled data centre space and I can get it a bit cheaper than your providers….”

Fortunately, I knew the guy, fairly well and he shared the quote.  It was very interesting.

Google had chucked up a company who were credible, but clearly quoting cheap.  Because he had not specified power or internet bandwidth particularly well in the conversation, they had low-balled these items, which made the monthly fee look very cheap.  Colo providers make good margin on the “variable” aspects of their services, so usage charges such as power and bandwidth burst can be a good money spinner for them. 

Interestingly, if you google “data centre space London”, the top four companies (Adwords) are people who I would not have put in the colocation bracket.  Two of them are simply reselling other people’s facilities (margin on margin), and offer significantly higher end services to major clients (probably more of a focus for them).  There then follows about 1 gazillion other references, some of whom are fantastic colocation companies, and others I’d never heard of.

Google is awesome.  It can find you anything you want with a few button clicks.  But if you don’t really know what you want, or can’t be bothered to type it into the search criteria, you’ll probably end up a victim of the people who pay for the best adwords.  Very few people will be typing “Looking for 52U of Data Centre space in the London area, but I’m not that fussed about London area really, more about price, and it needs to service 6 chunky servers and a mini-SAN, which probably consume about 3KW power when fully running but I don’t really know, and I think I need 100Mbps bandwidth but actually only really need about 20Mpbs”.  Very few sales guys who take inbound calls generated by Google will be in the game of diving into requirements in such depth that they might help the client conclude that their offering is not the perfect fit.

Take advice.  Work with a broker who can help you find the right provider by understanding the nuances of your requirements BEFORE you open the flood gates by a Google search - thus saving time on sales calls, time on explaining your requirements with each provider and time on deleting spam from the providers who you should have never given your email address to in the first place.  Also, many brokers (such as Embedded) have spent hours working with IT Sales guys.  They know how they tick and how they get paid, and therefore how to get the best deal balancing your requirements with their pay plan.



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