Seeking a partner, not just a provider

Given its focus on building value and efficiencies for its own network, Premier expects the same from its vendors. When the company decided to outsource its data-center environment, it wanted to ensure the selected provider not only offered hardened facilities, a secure environment and top-notch reliability but could also offer guidance and support to drive its IT direction.

While Premier vetted some large providers, it was looking for more than just a colocation provider; it wanted a colocation partner that understood the unique challenges facing mid-sized businesses and that could offer a collaborative environment.

With state-of-the-art, compliance-grade data centers, service-level agreement- backed stability and five-level security protocols, Flexential offered an ideal environment, right in Charlotte. However, it was Flexential’s experience and the accessibility of its executives that captured Premier’s interest.

“Flexential’s core infrastructure mirrors the core infrastructure we leverage,” explains Randy Franklin, VP-CIO of Premier, noting the synergy this creates for both companies.

Flexential has a thorough understanding of the unique challenges facing Premier as it continues to grow and mature. The availability of Flexential’s leadership offered Premier an added opportunity to leverage the expertise of seasoned operations and facilities executives to help shape its IT journey.

Amplifying efficiencies with colocation

Premier engaged Flexential’s advanced client services and began migrating its infrastructure out of its corporate data center to a Flexential Charlotte facility. With many business considerations pending – including acquisitions needed to integrate into the existing business – Premier was cautious to move only what they could effectively manage. Flexential worked with Premier to create a migration plan that accounted for these acquisitions and quickly transitioned its enterprise data center, and development and disaster-recovery platforms, to Flexential.

Premier was pleased with the professional quality of the work and appreciated the assistance Flexential provided in developing a migration plan and assembling and racking equipment.

Leveraging expertise to deliver on expectations and sculpt the future

As Premier continues to strategically migrate its environment to Flexential, it is keenly aware of the critical role its IT plays in delivering on its mission. Having Flexential technical experts available to guide implementation and management has enhanced the relationship.

Franklin also credits Flexential leadership with offering guidance and expertise around strategic IT decisions and helping Premier qualify other partner relationships. This communication is crucial to Franklin, who wants to ensure the companies’ long-term strategies align and a solid partnership is built.

For Premier, the measure of success and value of the partnership revolves around how well Flexential delivers on its commitments. While Flexential consistently delivers on its 100% uptime SLA at a lower cost than Premier could provide, Franklin also recognizes the added capabilities that Flexential brings to the table.

As part of the healthcare industry, Premier must adhere to a series of regulations including HIPAA, SOC and PCI DSS. The yearly independent audits that Flexential undergoes to ensure compliance is tremendously valuable to Premier, said Franklin.

“By leveraging a partner like Flexential that is highly motivated to not only maintain but also acquire newer and higher caliber compliance objectives, we don’t worry that the data center does not meet the necessary compliance regulations,” said Franklin.

To supplement its own capabilities, Premier also engages Flexential for select managed services including email monitoring to externally validate its email system. It also uses Flexential managed colocation services, such as remote hands.

Through remote hands, Premier is able to offload its internal IT staff of routine, on-site tasks such as checking equipment for audible alarms, visible lights and other environmental issues not identified by a server-based monitoring system. By outsourcing these hands-on tasks to Flexential, Premier enables its IT professional to remain focused on more business-critical efforts.

A portfolio of opportunities for the future

As Premier continues to migrate its environment to Flexential and envision its future, Franklin foresees Flexential playing a more extensive role in their IT landscape – possibly through the deployment of its infrastructure as a service or disaster recovery as a service solutions. Premier also expects to leverage Flexential’s high-caliber, third-party partnerships to deliver managed IT services to help enrich its internal team’s productivity. The Flexential DRaaS solution is a likely first step as Flexential and Premier both leverage Zerto replication technology to copy production environments.

“Flexential is a pleasure to work with,” summarizes Franklin. “We look forward to partnering with them for quite some time.”