WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?….IN THE DATA CENTER SECTOR
Those who know me better on a personal level know that I love to read books on personal development applicable to professional life. The first book I read of this kind years ago was “Who moved my cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, which through a story, where mice are the protagonists, teaches us the importance of avoiding immobility and having the ability to adapt to new situations that arise in your life.
This book has come to my mind because the Data Center sector is undergoing very significant changes, which are affecting all the stakeholders in the sector and the vast majority of them have not yet realised it.
We have already talked a lot in previous publications about the change to the cloud and its consequence on the growth of the colocation market. This fact is having a great impact on the entire value chain that comes with a project: properties, engineering, manufacturers and integrators.
For some time now, Quark has been constantly holding meetings or conference calls with people of different nationalities: Dutch, Brazilian, English, German, North American….. These are people from the engineering departments of our clients, who from their headquarters take charge of the projects they develop all over the world, so that new developments are homogeneous regardless of where they are built. In times like these, when each property has multiple projects in development, this work is essential.
For engineering companies, this movement brings about a change in our relationship with our customers. We have to gain the trust of new people from the client’s organization and we have to compete with companies from other countries, and also in a language that is not our native language and even applying regulatory concepts from other countries. It is usual that we no longer talk about the basic project and its execution, but about the different “Stages of RIBA”. I must say that our capacity to adapt in this case has been exemplary and Quark is resisting the entry of foreign engineering companies into the Spanish Data Center market like the Asterix village. This is helped by our portfolio of references, as well as the quality of the projects we do, being known in the UK, international awards, etc.. But you have to be aware that the threat is there and in the end it is pushing us to be better, if possible.
On the other hand, we have experienced this phenomenon in the opposite direction when we went into Latin America with Aceco or now Green 4T. I can imagine the perplexity of Brazilian engineering companies when Quark undertook the big projects we did in Brazil three years ago or our work in Portugal. We are still working on those markets.
The case of manufacturers throughout this phenomenon is paradigmatic and forces them to change their commercial structures. The figure of the Key Account Manager is gaining strength in contrast to local business organisations. Every week I get calls from local salespeople who want to meet us to prescribe their products and my answer is always the same: “You have to go to the customer’s headquarter. We have little to say.”
In this case, it is obvious that large multinationals with a global presence take advantage of local manufacturers.
And finally, we have the integrators or contractors. It may seem at first glance that in the end someone has to do the work locally and that this type of organisation is not affected, but it is not. I already know of several first-person cases where large operators bring in their usual contractors to do the work in Spain. They will end up subcontracting much of the work to local companies but the margin left for the latter will be much smaller and there will be high value-added items that they will not buy.
Therefore, in this situation, we return to the title of the post. The different actors do not find “their cheese” where they usually do. They knock on the door of the engineering companies or the local organizations of the customers and there is nothing to scratch there. It is time, as the book says, to move, to look for alternatives, not to stand still in this circumstance, to gain international presence, to make alliances, to improve the training of our teams, technically and in languages, to be an actor that contributes added value to these great global operators.
And be clear about one thing: this phenomenon is not local in Spain, it is global.
A big hug to everyone and thank you for sharing and/or recommending my posts.