Jim Hart CEO of Business Critical Solutions Ltd, gives insight on the challenges faced by the mission critical sector today
The rate of change currently being experienced within the mission critical sector is at unprecedented levels. We are witnessing the convergence of the colo and wholesale offerings, cloud becoming the preeminent demand for new technical space, workplace enablement a prime driver in organisational change and the changing demographic with Generation Y coming to the fore hotly pursued by Generation Z. Allied to this, traditional business models are being rewritten, no longer the 50-70 year path to establishment on the leading stock exchanges, the unicorns of today, backed by a bull market and a new generation of disruptive technology, generate massive growth and cash returns in a fraction of that time. Uber, the world’s largest taxi firm but owns no vehicles, Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no property, Skype, one of the world’s largest telephone companies owns no telco infrastructure, so what allows these companies to grow exponentially without a traditional asset base? The simple answer is their use of technology and their ability to deploy it rapidly in an agile and flexible manner. IT and technology has become the oxygen and life blood of business enablement, business change and business growth. Without an agile and flexible solution, a business’s progress stagnates.
This is the challenge that faces each and every CEO, CIO and CTO no matter what the size of their business or their aspiration. IT and technology is at the core of any successful business strategy and is essential to delivering the best possible business outcomes. In 2003, my colleague, Scott Shearer and I concluded that the traditional mission critical delivery models were not delivering the outcomes that were expected. This was largely because a conventional, long established, building led model was deployed. However, this expertise was pertinent to around 25% of the capital expenditure and addressed circa 10% of the risk. It was evident to us that the status quo had to be changed and to that end we introduced an engineering led methodology which, today, is accepted as the norm.
With the prime driver for IT being time and for property being predominantly cost, from the outset a clash appears inevitable. Similarly, with IT refresh cycles now regularly sub 2 years and real estate having a lifecycle anywhere between 15-25 years, flexibility to absorb change with minimal alteration is key. In 2016, the industry has evolved considerably and to match this speed of change a new adaptable, agile and flexible methodology is required. Due to the symbiotic relationship of IT and technical real estate and their potential impact on business success, these two facets can no longer be viewed separately. We are describing this proposition as the IT Asset strategy.
Generally, the current approach is one whereby the IT requirement is specified and a statement of need is then established in order that a technical real estate solution can be developed. Often, these two development streams diverge and only come together again in anger towards the latter stages of the real estate delivery. During the intervening period, the IT requirement has developed, the construction process has experienced change, frequently independently, causing handover issues to an operational facility. The IT Asset strategy treats these two development streams as one, with one common output to deliver the best possible business outcome.
Business Critical Solutions Ltd (BCS) delivers a range of independent consultancy services designed to provide a holistic view across all IT assets and property, aligning them with the business strategy and customer needs. It will enable companies within the mission critical sector to maximise the value from their IT, utilising their asset portfolios to gain strategic advantage and agility.
Furthermore, it will aim to ensure that an organisation’s future growth and investment is enhanced by liberating value in existing low performing assets, and also to mitigate the risk and liability of complex delivery contracts. BCS has access to the 100+ business critical specialists across The Keysource Group, and together with Scott Shearer, a recognised industry leader, we will lead the business.
My experience spans from mission critical facilities such as data centres, to mission critical infrastructure and secure installations for the past 15 years, specialising in global roll out strategies and programme formation with a total of 30 years in the technology and real estate industries. As well as previously been a partner at Arcadis, I have delivered projects for global technology clients including Digital Realty, Global Switch, Tesco, HSBC, NAB, JP Morgan, Serco and Barclays.
My colleague Scott has specialised in M&E cost and project management for 20 years with an expertise in mission critical environments since the first dot boom. He has successfully delivered high profile data centre fit out and new build projects on time and to budget for Digital Realty, Reuters, Barclays, HSBC, Global Switch, JP Morgan and Infinity. Scott was also previously a Partner at Arcadis.
In an era where technology is advancing and changing daily there is significant digital disruption. Combine this technological revolution with the uncertainty of regulations and there is a recipe for disaster. The impact on the mission critical sector is far reaching, creating a rate of change never previously experienced and resulting in increased demand for agility, flexibility, faster delivery and ever more efficient operations.
Both Scott and myself will be using our combined experience and knowledge to provide solutions the problems that are keeping are CEO’s, CIO’S and CTO’s awake at night.