Are the Days of the DIY Data Center Over?

Home renovation and maintenance projects have more in common with data center optimization and IT transformation than you might first think.

Take a kitchen remodel, for example. On the surface, the project seems to consist largely of replacing countertops, cabinets, and appliances. Underneath, however, things get more complicated—with wiring and plumbing connected to systems throughout the house.

Is It Time to Call in the Experts?

For both home and IT projects, the question is an important one—and the answer depends on multiple things, such as available skills, timeframes, and budget. For some tasks, the need for specialized expertise makes the decision an easy one. For example, a homeowner might consider trying to install a tile backsplash, but very few have the desire, experience, tools, or certifications to hook up a gas line.

Factoring in Lost Opportunity Costs 

There are, however, other important factors to consider when deciding whether—and how—to use an outside expert:

  • How serious are potential risks and costs if work is done incorrectly?
  • What are the potential critical-path impacts from delays or other issues?
  • What are the expert’s qualifications and track record?
  • What is the value of freeing internal resources to focus on other activities?

Prioritizing Transformation

The last question is one that more and more CIOs and other IT leaders have begun asking themselves, as the need for faster digital business innovation and IT transformation becomes ever-more acute.

According to the recent Digital Transformation Index II survey of 4,600 business leaders across 40+ countries, 91 percent of respondents reported major hurdles in moving transformations forward. Nearly 1 in 3 fear that, as a result, their business will be left behind.

When asked to specify the hurdles holding them back, respondents cited lack of “the right in-house skill sets and expertise” as one of the top 3 barriers to progress.

To better understand the skills gap, Dell EMC commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting. In the survey of nearly 700 IT decision makers, 62 percent reported that their IT teams did not have the expertise needed to deploy new technologies and 65 percent said they were unable to realize the full potential of their technology investments.  In other words, a majority of respondents reported being unable to optimally deploy new technology—and unable to derive the maximum value from their technology investments over time. These are worrisome findings, given the critical role of technology in digital business transformation and the magnitude of new technology investments.

Bridging the Skills Gap with Residency Services

To address these issues, Dell Technologies Services offers Residency Services to bridge the gaps in technical skills and expertise that are holding organizations back.

Our Resident Experts work onsite, under customer direction, as extensions of the internal team. They combine deep technical knowledge of Dell EMC products with the ability to quickly understand how these technologies fit into the larger IT environment. For example, a Resident with expertise in specific Dell EMC Data Protection solutions may also bring technical skills with VMware or experience with operating systems such as Linux or Windows. They also can provide guidance on best practices to optimize policies, processes, and operations.

Ready Now, with the Flexibility to Adjust As-Needed

Residency Services enable IT organizations to get the specific technical expertise and skill sets they need, without the delay or expense of internal hiring and training. Priorities, timeframes, and types of resources can all be adjusted as needs change. For example, the initial priority may be to ensure a successful implementation and speed the transition to a new technology. It might then shift to ensuring the full utilization of advanced features and functions—and then to maintaining optimal performance and operational efficiencies over time.

Whatever the tasks, as an integral part of the in-house team, Residents are also in a position to transfer valuable knowledge and skills every step of the way.

Certified Experts—Backed by Even More Expertise

Dell EMC Residents are certified by the Dell Technologies Proven Professional program, consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 technical certification programs in the world. Today the program offers 50+ Residency certifications in specific Dell EMC products and customer infrastructure environments.

Quarterly training and testing requirements ensure Residents stay ahead of the curve—and are current with the latest product releases, emerging technologies, and best practices.

Every Resident is backed by the Dell EMC engineering team, and has direct access to Dell EMC IP, knowledge bases and tools. In addition to technical expertise, Residents apply a proven project execution methodology to ensure that client objectives are clear and expectations are met.

Resident Experts play another role within Dell EMC. As a recent blog “How to Free Up Your IT Talent to Drive Innovation and Transformation” from Doug Schmitt notes, at Dell Technologies Services we are continually and proactively looking for new ways to help our customers achieve their objectives.

Are You Free to Innovate?

Just as home owners undertaking a project weigh the value of their own time in determining whether to take on specific tasks, IT leaders must examine when it makes sense to leverage outside expertise and when to invest in the hiring and training internal resources.

Given the demand for faster innovation and rapidly changing technologies, few organizations can afford the DIY model of old. In fact, more and more IT organizations are the choosing to use Residency Services, to speed the adoption and full utilization of new technologies, leverage best practices, and realize the full value of their investments.

Companies in the Forrester study that use IT services from their technology providers report being able to shift 36 percent of IT staff time, previously spent planning, deploying, installing, and optimizing technology, to more strategic initiatives. Those using onsite IT experts to extend their internal staff report a 26 percent increase in the productivity of their team—and a 17 percent reduction in overall IT costs.


Now is the time to determine how best to leverage Residency and other Dell Technologies Services to grow your business and make the most of your data center infrastructure.

Take a closer look at the Forrester study results in the Thought Leadership Paper and Infographic published here.

About the Author: David Mensing

David Mensing has been with Dell for over 20 years, primarily focused on Support and Deployment Services. During his time, David has engaged in multiple roles, including Client and Enterprise Support and Product Management. Leading projects across the Deployment, Residency, and Data Migration Services portfolio, David focuses on more tightly integrating our services portfolio while evolving existing offerings. He believes in aligning the service experience to the customer’s lifecycle, so that we can assist the customer at every stage. David has a degree in History from the University of Texas at Austin. In his free time, he enjoys being the leader for his son’s Cub Scout Den, playing the classical double bass, studying history, and traveling.