DCN November 2016 - Page 24

is at a crossroads. The market is predicted to grow in size over the next five years and is tipped to be the biggest in Europe by 2020. Some of the largest names in the world of technology provision are planning to build data centres in the UK in the next year, which highlights the strength of the offering we have in this country. But at the same time, a number of clients don’t have the necessary awareness of the technology and its role within the business that’s needed to ensure it functions at its optimum level. Typically, data centres only become a key issue for businesses when something goes wrong, and by then it’s too late – the client’s service and reputation will have suffered as a result. Many businesses are caught in a quandary of needing the service the technology provides and needing it to work at its full potential, but not having the resources to develop a deep understanding of how it works. Part of the issue is the fact that there’s next to no guidance for them – particularly when it comes to awarding design and build contracts for data centres. As a result, price is often the deciding factor when choosing who to work with, and, although this can result in short term savings, it can also cost more in the long run if the data centre needs fixing or upgrading to improve its resilience. As the industry is unregulated, it’s easy for firms who don’t have a quality-first approach to undercut the market leaders when it comes to tendering for work – and this doesn’t always benefit the client in the long term. The way to develop a position that reflects the needs of the industry is to work collaboratively. The simple solution to this would be to develop something for clients that enables them – or their procurement department – to know what to look for when reviewing tenders for a data centre contract, and help them understand that price shouldn’t always be the main factor in deciding who to work with. But this is easier said than done. There are a large number of organisations who can all legitimately claim to support the industry, but no single voice has been speaking for it. As a result, developing one set of client guidance that has the entire industry’s backing is a difficult task. This lack of a single voice is also an issue when it comes to addressing the industry’s absence of an established training pathway. 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