30 Nov 2021
Back in October I was delighted to join the team here at Kao Data as their new Operations Director and as I write this I’m coming to the end of my first month on the job. It’s been a fantastically busy, hectic introduction but also thoroughly exciting. What became clear on day one was I’ve joined a fast-paced, agile team who are clearly punching above their weight and that is a rewarding environment to be part of.
Of course, this isn’t entirely new ground to me and across my career prior to Kao Data I’ve been lucky to have worked for some excellent challenger organisations. From SunGard Availability Services in my early days to Digital Realty and more recently CyrusOne – these are all superb companies who have pushed the boundaries within their respective markets.
One common thing across all of these companies is excellent leadership and I’ve been fortunate to have worked for some highly respected heads of departments and directors whom I have learnt a great deal from in many ways. They’ve created inspiring, trusted environments that have allowed their staff to flourish and it’s those workplaces that get the best out of us.
This was also one of the main reasons I decided to join Kao Data. The opportunity to work alongside Paul Finch, our COO and Gérard Thibault, our CTO was simply too good to turn down. Both gentlemen are hugely respected globally for their work in designing, building and operating some of the industry’s finest facilities including Kao Data’s pioneering Harlow campus – the first to be OCP-Ready outside of the USA. I may have been in the industry for a fair while, but I’m looking forward to sharpening my knowledge and expertise by being part of Paul and Gérard’s teams.
I think within our industry there is so much attention paid to the digital infrastructure or the compute hardware that gets placed within that, or the applications and software that run from it, or even the clouds that exist somewhere above, around, within our facilities…that the people who make all of this happen often get taken for granted. There is much to be learnt and shared from the brains behind all of our sectors good work – especially over the last 18 months of the pandemic, and I’m a firm believer in industry stewardship. We work in a key, but small community, so it is important to ensure insight is shared, and all bridges remain intact and relationships continue professionally with past, current, and future stakeholders.
I have always encouraged and wanted my teams to be the envy of those looking in from outside. Primarily because I feel it is important to build a strong team ethic, empower those around me, encouraging them to take ownership and have a sense of pride in what they are delivering. Therefore, the driver has and always is, ensuring teams strive for operational excellence and deliver a first-class operation to all stakeholders consistently, looking to exceed benchmarks set.
There are certainly some exciting times ahead for Kao Data and I’ve joined as the company has recently gone through a moment of transformational change – moving from a one-campus operation to now coordinating data centres across three facilities. I am particularly looking forward to being part of the developments in west London (more details on these to follow at the appropriate time) and bringing these in-line with the Kao Data experience and standards which I am proud to say are amongst some of the best in the business.
The busy schedule is going to ratchet up a few more notches over the coming months as we take over a major financial institutions data centre provision and as we plan to bring online more Tier 3 equivalent colocation capacity for our customers. Keeping the lights on, and the sales team on their toes is all part of the day job.
At our west London data centres I will be continuing and championing Kao Data’s existing commitment of continuous improvement which is embedded in its DNA, and whilst the company is still in its early stages, as I mentioned earlier, we’re making our mark within the industry. This was highlighted only last week when we were shortlisted for “Operations Team of the Year” by Datacenter Dynamics for our team’s work in deploying NVIDIA Cambridge-1.
I’ll be at the awards in London on the 8th December to meet colleagues old and new, and will be hoping my excellent operations team becomes an “award-winning” operations team. There would be no better fitting accolade. Keep those fingers crossed!