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«M&O reinforces customer confidence in our work»

The M&O Stamp of Approval is issued exclusively to data centers that guarantee maximum process reliability and exceed high industry standards. Our Team Leader, Thomas Huber, says that the certification also acts as an incentive for outstanding performance.

M&O stands for Management and Operations of Data Centers and has the following objectives:

  • Establish consistency in quality
  • Reduce incidents of human error
  • Drive continuous improvement

The M&O Assessment evaluates all aspects of the operation: planning, coordination, and management, staffing and organization, training, operating conditions and maintenance. This places high demands on data center operators and their employees.

Thomas Huber, Team Lead Data Center Operations (DCOps) at Green, says that the effort required to reach and maintain this level pays off in a number of ways. He and his team took on the challenge and successfully passed the certification audit, making Green the only Swiss data center provider to have the M&O Stamp of Approval.

What was your first reaction when you heard the good news?
Thomas Huber: I was just proud of my DCOps team. They had all been working hard on this for months. As a matter of fact, I am twice as proud, as many of those who apply for the M&O certification don’t even pass the first audit. But Green went so far as to achieve results well above average, confirming that not only do we have state-of-the-art data centers, but that their processes also operate at optimum level.

How did you prepare for the audit?
We developed a detailed framework for our processes, which we then revised and refined systematically for the audit. This enabled us to coordinate operations even more precisely. We also developed a training schedule and training sessions for our employees to ensure operational excellence in the long term.

«The M&O certification clearly sets us apart from other providers.»

Sounds like a lot of preparation.
It was. For a year and a half, our teams were performing preparation work alongside their day-to-day activities. It was quite an accomplishment. We gradually revised a hundred processes down to the last detail, from delivery management to maintenance in power and cooling. We reviewed all processes using the dual control principle, testing them on site and adapting them as needed.

Is the certification worth all that effort?
We benefit from it whichever way you look at it. All the preparation brought our daily operations to a level that greatly surpasses the industry standards. Thanks to the clever methodology of these M&O-certified processes, they can be applied identically at all of our sites. This standardization increases business efficiency and clearly sets us apart from other data center providers. The documentation also makes work preparation and change management easier for employees. You can also see that the team thinks more holistically because the framework has been formulated very clearly. It motivates everyone to continuously perfect operational processes and to apply them in their work.

«Operational excellence is firmly anchored and practiced within the company.»

The certification is a prestigious distinction for the team and Green as a company. To what extent does it benefit data center customers?
The M&O certification reinforces customer confidence in our work and is proof of our compliance with and implementation of the agreed service level agreement. After all, they’re trusting us with their equipment and their data. Our processes are now designed in a way that allows us to document our course of action and due care down to the last detail during customer audits. If there’s one thing our customers can count on, it’s this: operational excellence is firmly anchored and practiced within the company.

Is the DCOps team now able to sit back and relax?
Quite the opposite. Ambition has taken hold of us. The certification has to be renewed every two years and we are already working on checking different processes and perfecting these further. The data center business is an ongoing process that develops in line with technology. In addition, we coordinate our processes so that they are implemented consistently at the highest level across all Green sites. There’s no such thing as downtime here.  

Final question: did you read all the instructions personally?
I actually did. I read them all, and even wrote many of them myself or took responsibility for the review.  And I will do so again in future. We are aiming to improve on our result at the next audit.

The benefits of M&O certification

Establish consistency

Operating multiple data centers is more complex than maintaining one single facility, as technical and organizational complexity increases with the number of sites. M&O confirms that consistent quality is ensured based on a solid framework at all facilities. In Green’s case, this means that operational quality is guaranteed across all sites.

Avoid errors

Studies show that over 75% of data center failures can be attributed to human error. Defined processes and coordinated operations are therefore key for the M&O certification. The certified operations stabilize business and guarantee consistent performance and best practice in all aspects. This structure helps employees to uniformly comply with operations.

Improve continuously

Operational excellence can be seen in the disciplined, standardized and sustainable maintenance of processes and a continuous adaptation to changes. M&O-certified operations enable teams to standardize processes, apply them on a company-wide basis and optimize them on an ongoing basis. A Stamp of Approval applies for two years and then has to be renewed.