At this point in time, we have interviewed countless individuals working in the data center. From those working on the technical aspects to managers, C-level executives, sales and commercial managers, policymakers, and so on. But despite their difference, what all these interviewees seem to have in common is the accidental haphazard way in which they fell into the industry.
When we are at our DCD>Connect events, it can seem like the data center industry is the center of the universe - after all, for the hundreds who are in attendance, it is their universe. But the reality is that as an industry we are actually shrouded in a cloak of invisibility.
Have you ever been at a dinner party with new acquaintances, and undertaken the task of explaining what your job is? If you haven’t had to first explain that the internet is not some abstract concept floating around in the atmosphere, I’ll be shocked.
We are a mission-critical sector that no one has heard of. At the DCD>Connect London event, Emma Fryer, partner at Environmental Resources Management spoke to this with DCD CEO George Rockett.
“Just before lockdown, I had a couple of operators asking, ‘we are key workers here, aren't we? We’re going to be on the key workers' list?” said Fryer. “I told them, ‘well, I'll just make sure with the government because I can't imagine we wouldn't be’.
“So I wrote to the department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport which is responsible for digital, and I said, ‘can you just confirm that data center workers are going to be on the key workers' list?’ and the reply came back, and it was ‘could you remind us what a data center is?”
Fortunately, as a result of this conversation, data center workers were put on the list (and the government now has a department dedicated to the sector) but the fact that even in 2020 we had such poor visibility is clearly a problem.
This poor visibility is not only a problem when it comes to legislation. It is also a problem for the workforce - and thus a cause for the skills shortage.
It is because of this that DCD Academy has worked on The Business of Data Centers, a training course covering the industry fundamentals and introducing our ‘origin story’ to the masses.
George Rockett, DCD and DCD Academy CEO particularly emphasises the importance of this in getting new talent into the industry.
“We can't engage young people. We've got a lack of knowledge about the basic things. Around us, all the time, we hear people talk, and we say ‘oh, I think they missed a certain memo.’ But it's a big problem because there's a foundational issue.“
As we all know, everybody fell into the data center industry from different places, therefore, you're never sure from which place they fell. Now, technically, you can do lots of courses. You can teach people about design and engineering people already know something. But actually, we're in an industry where half of our industry, and a really important half, is not technical. They don't need to know technical things.”
The Business of Data Centers is a self-paced e-learning course that has been specifically designed for non-technical people to understand what is considered a highly-technical industry. Traditional approaches to acquiring industry knowledge and forming viewpoints can take many months if not years. But, with this course organizations can increase speed to competence, shorten onboarding cycles, and improve business development, sales, and customer service outcomes.
Watch the full DCD>Talk now here, or check out The Business of Data Centers