Lawyer Bait

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Monday, January 10, 2011

More on Site Selection - Where is the Holistic View?

I got a requirement sent to me on Friday afternoon for a site selection on a large requirement >50Mw. Based on what I know about users looking for sites in the marketplace I would bet an Egg Nog Latte that it was the requirement for the Social Security Administration's data center project that has gone sideways.

The Office of the Inspector General OIG issued a report back in April of 2010 about the criteria and process that put a smile on my face:

"While the reviewers concluded that the agency had developed a "highly sophisticated" list of site-selection criteria for the project expected to cost more than $800 million, they found the process for narrowing site properties down to a short list to have been problematic.

Mandatory selection criteria the agency developed could also have excluded too many locations.

"In particular, when developing the mandatory selection criteria, it does not appear that consideration was given to the serious fiscal impact that exclusions would have in the electrical power cost arena over the life cycle of the data center," summary of the inspector general's report read.
Information was also limited in evaluation of telecommunications criteria.

It was not clear from the report's summary whether one or several location had been identified. The agency did not release the document in its entirety.

Why is this humorous to me?

The things that were excluded - cost of power and telecom infrastructure were cited. Hello? The two most important criteria for a selection were overlooked? Wow. Who was doing the selecting? Was the 'highly sophisticated' criteria designed to mask breathtaking incompetence?

As a result the requirement (if it is the requirement) is back on the street for round 2. If you are involved with the site selection process for the SSA (or any other organization) I am happy to give you my site selection criteria checklist. It's simple, I have used it myself for years, and it works. Email me - and I will send you a copy. Free. Yes free. I look at it as an investment of goodwill to keep my taxes down paying for a project that is big, expensive, and uses MY money to pay for it.

The other interesting thing to have noted in the requirement which I laughed out loud over was that Economic Incentives were weighted as high as power and telecom infrastructure in the selection criteria. Folks, Economic incentives go away after a few years. Data centers stay around for 15-30. Economic incentives help in the short term, but how many elected officials stay in office 15-30 years? That is a lot of election cycles and political agendas to factor in.

There is also the mandate from Vivek Kundra issued in February of 2010 that they will need to factor into their decision. This entails highly efficient, green powered facilities that will be flexible enough to handle the IT changes in virtualization, the inclusion of legacy applications and hardware, and CIO agendas. It's a tall order, however it's so damn simple when you focus on the lowest common denominators. The same ones they overlooked in the first requirement.

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