Intelligent Data Centres Issue 3 - Page 67

DEEP DIVE physical side of things. But nobody is teaching that and organisations that rely on those skills end up running their own courses. In universities they’re still focused on electrical engineering or mechanical engineering as a specific discipline. But you have to join the IT and engineering side together at all levels. When universities start offering schools of study where you can’t tell the difference between an IT person and an engineer I think they’ve got it. How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office? Injury aside, I would play tennis once a week but I have got three very young children – a five, four and two year old. Other than that, reading, music and the occasional computer game. What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry? For me it would be workforce development and capability. I chair a special interest group on this with the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) and what we are really keen to do is get people to take a bigger interest in wanting to inspire today’s children to want to study technology and engineering and maths and science and see it as a career – their career! Whatever we can do, however we can do it – it just needs a lot of very passionate people. So it’s got to be homegrown. You can’t wave a magic wand at it. People need to want to do it and they need to have the resources to do it and the time. That’s where the investment should be, especially when we have so much uncertainty over Brexit about where we’re going get tomorrow’s resources from as we might not have this talent pool in Europe to pull from so companies will struggle unless they can generate that from home. What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role? Most of the work I do is European. GDPR and Brexit have driven some organisations to rethink their Data Centre Strategy and then there’s the differences between Northern Europe, Southern Europe and UK/Ireland in terms of product. In the Nordic countries, for instance, they have a very similar product. They’re trying to sell data centres on the fact they have this large renewable energy and low cost cooling product. But the network, the backbone Internet connectivity, is one of the crucial elements to a good data centre product and if you don’t have that then you are going to struggle to attract large enterprises. What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months? After a lot of talk about cloud, which we kind of ignored at first as it was a lot of hyperbole for quite a long-time, it has started now to become a serious consideration in terms of most companies’ IT estates – but many are still quite nervous about it. They know they need to use cloud but are unsure about how they connect it up to their existing on-premise infrastructure. Cloud requires a very different support paradigm because you are relying much more on a 3rd party and your network connection to it, so you need very good IT service contract managers which organisations don’t tend to have. What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a senior position in the industry? Have a passion for what you do. Find a role that you enjoy, that really inspires you and if you feel like you can make a difference, then that should be enough to motivate you to want to be the best at it. ◊ Issue 03 67