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September 19, 2019
Sponsored by APC
APC by Schneider Electric partners now have the opportunity to gain significant value from our EcoStruxure IT Software monitoring platform–by using it to conduct assessments on customer environments that can lead to increased hardware sales and recurring revenue from managed services.
EcoStruxure IT is a cloud-based data center infrastructure management (DCIM) service that can monitor all sorts of multi-vendor data center infrastructure, including UPSs, PDUs, cooling systems, and racks. It also integrates with the NetBotz physical security system, enabling remote monitoring of lights-out environments.
It’s easy to set up and deploy. Simply download the EcoStruxure IT Gateway software, and in minutes it will discover all the devices it can manage within a predefined subnet or IP address range. Once connected to a piece of infrastructure—say, a UPS–it begins sending data about that device to a cloud-based data lake. We then apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to the data, to glean valuable insights. For example, by comparing performance data from one customer’s UPS to data from similar UPSs in other data centers, we can tell when a UPS is showing signs that it needs service or a new battery–which our partners would then be in position to provide.
UPS Score Assessment
And that’s one of the chief benefits of performing assessments: to find distributed IT infrastructure that requires service or is nearing end of life and needs to be replaced.
Consider a UPS Score assessment. EcoStruxure IT can monitor about 30 attributes of a UPS, including input/output voltage, battery runtime and temperature, and whether the UPS is on or off battery – all the data needed to determine whether the UPS is viable and healthy.
EcoStruxure IT can then aggregate that data and provide a couple of reports to the client. One is a UPS assessment that provides a score for each UPS based on its age, battery age, any alarms it has experienced and so on. The report enables customers to quickly home in on UPSs that need attention immediately, and which ones they need to budget to replace in a year or two. With that in hand, APC partners are then in position to address those issues that require immediate attention, and to come back later to deal with other UPSs as they near end of life.
Another report is a UPS lifecycle upgrade. After assessing all the UPSs at a given site–gathering information on loads, age of devices and so forth–EcoStruxure IT can determine whether some UPSs should be scaled up or down. For example, if it’s time to replace some UPSs, the report can inform the customer that a 3000VA UPS has only been using 1500VA, providing an opportunity to downsize to a 2200VA model–and thus saving power over its lifetime. To do such an assessment, traditionally a partner would have to walk the site manually, likely to multiple locations, buildings and wiring closets to get an accurate inventory. With EcoStruxure IT the process takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Alarm Report and Active Lifecycle Assessments
A similar report can cover any type of IT infrastructure, including cooling systems and rack PDUs. Data is aggregated into a report that shows an active lifecycle analysis of all data center infrastructure. Customers can quickly see how old a device is, assess its health and determine where it is in its lifecycle. Using the report, partners can conduct a return-on-investment analysis to determine which components need to be upgraded or replaced. All this can be performed without ever setting foot in the customer’s data center. It speeds the route to sales and lessens time on site. Partners who charge a flat fee for such assessments will find they can increase their margins and profitability by doing them far more quickly with EcoStruxure IT.
Another report is an alarm assessment. For this report, EcoStruxure IT analyzes all the alarms a device has experienced throughout its life. It creates a graph by alarm type and shows devices that have experienced repeated issues. For one retail customer with 70 locations, this assessment pointed to issues at two stores where UPSs repeatedly went down. The alarm data pointed to site wiring faults due to missing grounds that were causing the UPSs to drop their loads. Perhaps more importantly, the missing grounds presented a fire risk–which the report helped identify and the customer quickly remediated.
Multiple Approaches and Opportunities
With all the various sensor data that EcoStruxure IT can gather, monitor and assess, there’s really no limit to the sorts of assessments and reports partners can conduct on behalf of customers. It all depends on what the customer wants and needs.
But it’s clear EcoStruxure IT offers opportunity for partners, in multiple ways. One is a pure hardware play–using the assessments to point to hardware that needs upgrading. Another is for partners that have traditionally focused on data centers but want to expand to other sites; EcoStruxure IT is built to handle hybrid environments that consist of one site or many.
It can also be an entry to managed service opportunities. In many cases, it may be eye-opening when customers see reports showing many UPSs that need service, for example. Many don’t have the resources to manage their UPSs in-house, or simply don’t want to. That opens the door to a conversation about a managed UPS service offering. The same goes for power and cooling systems.
EcoStruxure IT is also a great way for partners to break into new customers, by offering to give them insights they don’t currently have. Once deployed, EcoStruxure IT eases the way toward ongoing conversations–maybe a quarterly review, complete with benchmarks that show the value partners are bringing.
Hopefully, this will pique interest among our partners. If so, I encourage you to visit this page where you can start a free trial and assess for yourself the power of EcoStruxure IT.
Larry Hann is the Director of Digital Services Programs for APC by Schneider Electric. He has been with APC for over 20 years and during this time he has supported North American business relationships as manager for Tier 2 OEM partners and then the Tier 1 IT Distribution team. Additionally, Larry has held various positions with APC’s Government Channel Partners, Strategic Partners and National Account businesses. He holds a BMSE in Material Engineering from Virginia Tech and a MSE in Materials Science and Engineering from Clemson University.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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