Findings from a recent research report indicate that, with the increase in concerns over the costs and environmental impact of operating a data centre, 50% of CIOs would be willing to pay a premium to consultants advising on the specification of the next site they build.

Moreover, 91% of the senior IT professionals questioned would pay a higher fee for consultants if they were then able to bring the project in under budget.

The independent report, entitled Energy: the currency of the data centre, showed that 48% of the organisations surveyed had used consultants to advise on their most recent data centre development. The findings also demonstrated that, whether they used consultants or not, there is no difference in the number of those who experienced problems with over-specification and under-utilisation.

Many consultants are clearly not helping, and are sometimes even hindering, the process of data centre construction. Almost a quarter of the organisations interviewed said their latest data centre development was over-specified and under-utilised, and we know that over-specification results in higher power costs. As an industry we need to focus just as much on introducing high level consultancy at the start of each project as we do on delivering a quality build.

The research demonstrates a general lack of trust in consultants, with 23% of respondents believing they had been offered poor advice about specifications on a project, and 25% believing projects were deliberately over-specified by the consultant to drive up their fees. This suggests the need for better quality controls on data centre consultation.

The highest levels of consultancy are needed through clear channels of communication with customers to ensure that building projects are completed on time and within budget – and are neither over-specified nor underutilised. I believe this will add value and help to deliver cost savings over time.