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Large companies across the UK increasingly turn to independent consultants when they want advice on the design and specification of a data centre. Almost all of them then ignore some or all of that advice, according to research released today.

One hundred interviews were conducted among senior IT professionals at UK organisations with 250 or more employees, each of whom was responsible for their organisation's data centres. The research, commissioned by data centre solutions firm Sentrum, found that large companies are increasingly turning to consultancy. However, the level of trust in the advice given by these consultants is low.

Whether looking to design their own data centre, or outsource some or all of their facilities, 97 per cent of those companies that turn to data centre consultants said that they will often end up changing the recommended specification, or not follow the advice given, according to the research.

Although just nine per cent said this happens very frequently, 58 per cent said it happens quite often. Just two per cent of companies said that they never changed the specification suggested by data centre consultants.

Statistics from Sentrum’s 2009 research showed that 52 per cent of IT managers in large companies expressed an interest in receiving advice and recommendations from specialist consultants, whilst in 2010 that trend has increased to the point where 88 per cent of IT managers said they would turn to independent data centre consultants for advice on designing a data centre. That number rises further still, to 96 per cent, amongst those companies that outsource all or part of their data centre space requirements.

Although the research revealed that only a few UK companies (eight per cent) used consultants regularly, 42 per cent of the organisations questioned stated they now felt the need to secure the 'expert' advice of consultants. A further 35 per cent admitted that they lacked the detailed knowledge required to complete data centre projects in-house, alone. 35 per cent of respondents said they used consultants because they expected this type of consultancy to result in longer term cost savings. Sentrum's Development Director, Franek Sodzawiczny, said the consultancy being offered is not proving to be cost effective.

"Advice is commonly rejected, which suggests that consultants are either not doing their homework or that they are not gaining the trust and understanding of their client," he said.

"If customers are not being told what they need to know, from the outset of a project, they are just being forced in to making less informed decisions that will ultimately lead to longer term issues," said Sodzawiczny. "As companies lock down their future growth strategies, good consultancy partners, and their experience, knowledge and sound advice, will only become even more business critical.”

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