It’s safe to say that the recent explosive growth in global connectivity has driven a lot of progress within the critical environments space. In a world with an “Internet of Things” on the horizon and where people find it extremely hard to step away from their smartphones, the reliance in our data centres is crucial.
The leaders in technology are clear about one thing - they want everything on Earth to be networked and connected. New plans like DataVita and their £200 million mega data centre, which is going to be built in Scotland early next year, illustrates that we are not a million miles away from achieving such goals.
However, when we look at critical environments; trading floors, hospital complexes, critical infrastructure, complex defence facilities and data centres, it is easily noticeable that the majority of these are being outsourced to the lowest bid. Quite scary, isn’t it?
This raises the question - is procurement driving cost efficiency to the detriment of the brand?
Take the “blackberry blackout” which was caused by a series of complex technical failings from RIM and brought a lot of brand damage to Blackberry. Did their customers lose faith in their products and services? Unfortunately some might argue that they did…
Within the critical environments space, we often see a focus on the technical aspects which are obviously paramount to keeping the world running on a day to day basis. But, key long term strategic visions like risk management and energy sustainability, are often being overlooked. Our clients say that the competition to get maximum return on data space is becoming very fierce and the difficulty in keeping on top of efficiency (whether that is energy efficiency or Power usage effectiveness (PUE) etc.) is increasing.
Therefore, capital expenditure should go towards infrastructure improvements to facilitate energy efficient and cost effective systems as well as into ways of finding and retaining the right talent which has the necessary experience and can focus on the next best value. It is imperative for companies to do so especially now, when there is a major skills shortage of directors and engineering managers who have not only the necessary technical background but also the entrepreneurial vision to think about long term critical strategy. In this environment one must appreciate that the best people are already employed, therefore, and in order to find the right talent, companies need to focus more on networking and work on a basis of recommendations.
In conclusion, rather than just looking at innovation as a process of cutting costs, we should be focusing more on implementing efficient systems and investing in the right people in order to provide a good and sustainable return. Moreover, due to the constant technological change, smarter procurement contracts and strategies should be looked into.