When Mike Cross joined CommScope as senior vice president and chief information officer, one of his first orders of business was visiting the company’s data centers in Chicago and Philadelphia. As he entered the colocation facilities of CommScope’s infrastructure service providers, he was surprised at what he saw—a lack of CommScope solutions.
“I believed we were missing a prime opportunity to be our own best customer, and show our other customers what we can do in a real-world setting,” Cross says.
CommScope is a premiere network infrastructure provider, enabling many of the top-performing wireless, enterprise, and broadband networks in existence today. The company has helped write the standards for nearly every network technology evolution for more than a generation, leading the advancement of coaxial, twisted-pair, and fiber-optic technology. And yet, none of its solutions could be found in the outsourced data centers Cross toured.
Cross quickly set the wheels of change in motion. He wanted to:
- Reduce operating costs and shift those resources to business enablement.
- Drive increased sales and innovation.
- Create a showcase for CommScope solutions and those of its partners.
“Like many others, the company had been viewing technology as a cost and not an enabler,” Cross explains. “I believe technology is a driver of business, and set out to transform our organization with IT.”
A multi-purpose data center
The transformation started with a new data center for disaster recovery purposes, located two blocks from the company’s headquarters in Richardson, Texas. The facility utilizes the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ and features a host of CommScope gear.
- The new environment costs 80 percent less and delivers twice the processing power of the company’s previous data center.
- It offers significantly better redundancy, manageability, and provisioning capabilities.
- It paid for itself in less than a year with power, cooling, rack space, and maintenance savings alone.
But the new data center isn’t just a highly efficient disaster recovery site, Cross explains. It also acts as an executive briefing center and a showpiece of possibility. The company’s sales team can bring in customers and prospects and show them what can be accomplished using CommScope and its partners’ solutions—in a live, production setting.
“Our customers are IT folks like me,” says Cross. “They don’t want a sales pitch. They want to see this stuff in action and see how we are using our own products. It facilitates better conversations that have a direct impact on sales.”
The data center is also being used by CommScope’s research and development team to evaluate new products and try new things. Because it’s a disaster recovery facility, the team can test new prototypes, solutions, and applications in a production environment without impacting the company’s primary data center operations.
“This is my genius move,” Cross says with a comical laugh. “Reducing operating costs and vastly improving our technical capabilities while giving our R&D and sales teams a new tool to utilize makes CommScope look smart.”