Was the relocation worth it?

AgFirst is the largest agricultural lending institution in the U.S. They had been operating out of the same building for 90 years. They were out of space and unable to upgrade for future growth and security requirements. They sold their current facility, purchased a new one, and faced an aggressive vacate timeline of 12 months. Their data center was a complex high-performance environment with 50% of their systems operating as tier 1 requiring zero downtime. Their top concern was the impact of the data center relocation on daily business operations.

What factors were behind AgFirst’s decision to relocate their data center?

We were out of room and our existing data center had unchangeable factors such as space and flexibility limiting service tiers regardless of money spent. We considered renovating our existing data center one floor at a time. The cost was estimated at $10-25 million, and it required a temporary relocation. Meanwhile, our data center flooded, and we realized that our potential $10-25 million project would not have prevented or mitigated the flood event.
Ultimately, we started looking at buying land and found a great fit.

What are the 3 most important lessons learned?

  1. The rewards of keeping infrastructure current
  2. The value of having the right staff in adequate amounts
  3. Getting the right partners involved so that you don’t try to do everything and/or rely on experts

What were the top 5 business benefits from your relocation?

  1. Ability to accommodate far more growth
  2. Flexibility to handle changes better
  3. A more secure environment and the ability to implement additional secure processes all around (facilities, upkeep, repairs, IT)
  4. Better ability to handle disasters and business disruptions
  5. An improved platform to deliver services and value to associations (AgFirst customers)
Business as usual is the sign of a successful project, and this project allowed us to operate as such. There were no impacts to customers or employees throughout the AgFirst district...”
AgFirst Executive
After 12 months of effort with zero downtime, AgFirst’s operating costs dropped significantly.  Performance and reliability improved dramatically as did the capacity to increase services.  AgFirst is now positioned to accommodate significant business growth and acquisition. For a deeper look into the project, read their case study, A Financial Institution Relocation.  It is available below.