Finding Data Center Help in a Digital World

by | Mar 6, 2019 | Blog

First of all – it’s good to be in a data center business. However, the ones finding the most success are the ones creating technology partnerships, and not just offering up data center space. That said, our industry continues to see a boom due to digital transformations, deeper integration with cloud, and organizations embracing an always-on society. I recently reviewed a JLL report that stated; building on growing momentum from the first half of 2018, the global data center industry is in a great position to meet increased demand, even through economic uncertainty.

“Though the majority of new data center product is being developed in the U.S., the full scope of our industry’s global pipeline is a testament to consumer demand increasing everywhere,” said Bo Bond, JLL Managing Director and Data Center Solutions Co-Lead.

Added Mark Bauer, JLL Managing Director and Data Center Solutions Co-Lead, “Considering the role that digital connectivity plays in our everyday lives and its increased application, there’s no sign of this appetite for data center and cloud space abating anytime soon.”

Although this growth is pretty great, there are some associated challenges. For example, how do you find all of the right people to help you with this growth?

Millennials and a Younger Data Center Generation to the Rescue 

We asked respondents what were some of their biggest recruitment challenges around specific types of personnel. Four in five respondents (78%) report challenges in at least some personnel types, most commonly; IT Security Personnel (31%), Cloud Architects (28%) and IT Systems and/or Applications Personnel (27%). Rounding off the top 5 were also; DevOps (24%) and Data Center Facility Technicians, Engineers, and Operators (22%)

Almost all of these categories saw a jump from last year’s study:

  • Data Center Facility Technicians, Engineers, and Operators: 22% (down from 30% in 2018)
  • Cloud Architect: 28% (up from 21% in 2018)
  • DevOps: 24% (up from 19% in 2018)
  • IT Security Personnel: 31% (up from 19% in 2018)

Very much like the previous study, two in three respondents (65%) report their companies have had to increase investment in IT and/or Data Center Facility personnel over the past three years. The most common drivers of this increased investment are the growing demand for on-site coverage (53%), followed by retention costs for existing staff (41%). Other key factors include certification and training and demand for higher wages.

Still, we wanted to know how data center leaders were actually planning on supporting data center business growth. Most of all, this new generation of data center experts must understand the digital revolution we’re all a part of and support new initiatives around cloud. 

With that, in the 3rd and latest edition of our study, we introduced a new question to find out more about professionals in the data center and technology workforce. Specifically, we wanted to know if there are new, young faces, joining data center companies. Here’s what we found:

  • A majority of respondents (70%) are seeing more young data center professionals enter the workforce.
  • Still, a third find it difficult to recruit qualified, young candidates (34%)

This is a pretty clear indication that data center leaders are going after new talent to help them with growth and digital initiatives. However, it’s not quite that easy. Attracting new talent will have to go beyond just offering ‘data center jobs.’ This means transforming your own business to become digitally-native, cloud-minded, and most of all – more efficient. Many entering the workforce want to work for a company that features innovation and has a vision to the future. Again, beyond just offering colocation space, some racks and some power.

To compete in a digital market, you’ll need to shift your thinking to help enable an always-on society. This means understanding the critical role that the data center plays in today’s world and where new talent would most likely make an impact. Moving forward, data centers will face a transition to becoming ‘technology’ and even ‘digital’ companies. The faster you can embrace that future, the faster you can adapt to a digital market and hire amazing talent.

Bill Kleyman, Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions, Switch

Bill Kleyman, Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions, Switch

Industry Analyst | Board Advisory Member | Writer/Blogger/Speaker | Executive | Millennial | Techie

Bill Kleyman brings more than 15 years of experience to his role as Director of Technology Solutions at EPAM. Using the latest innovations, such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, DevOps, cloud and advanced technologies, Mr. Kleyman delivers solutions to customers that help them achieve their business goals and remain competitive in their market. An active member in the technology industry, he was ranked #16 globally in the Onalytica study that reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape; and #4 in another Onalytica study that reviewed the industry’s top Data Security Experts.

Mr. Kleyman enjoys writing, blogging and educating colleagues about everything related to technology. His published and referenced work can be found on WindowsITPro, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot and more.

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