Today’s businesses – startups and large enterprises alike – are under increasing pressure to make well-informed decisions more rapidly. Social, mobile, big data, and cloud services have increased competition and are raising the bar for smart decision-making across the board. Colocation, infrastructure, and other ‘as a service’ capabilities provide a dizzying array of options for companies to provision technology and house their data. These disruptive changes, and the speed with which they are moving, present a great opportunity for Digital Realty.
My experience includes working in some very diverse businesses, where I learned firsthand the importance of responding quickly to disruptive changes. I also experienced the excitement of being in places where these disruptive changes created significant business growth. Digital Realty is positioned for that same kind of growth.
I joined Digital Realty as the company’s first chief information officer to be a part of this growth and transformation. My experience in IT and information security, as well as my strong background in lean process improvements, will be instrumental in supporting the company’s growth and working with the senior leadership team to lead the company in a more agile and scalable direction.
Since we live in the age of Twitter, I’ll use some hashtags to describe why I joined:
The Internet of Things is an unprecedented opportunity for businesses, and will require a new approach to data center and colocation operations, especially when it comes to storage. We can no longer expect a linear rate of growth in the amount of information we are storing and exchanging, thanks to the proliferation of sensors that pick up more and more data. With billions of new endpoints, we must adapt to exponential trajectories for both data growth and storage capacity. This applies both to our clients, and to our own internal way of working.
The growth in the amount of data created is no longer linear; it’s exponential. Moore’s Law recently turned 50, and Gordon Moore’s prediction has clearly stood the test of time. Every day,we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much data that as of 2011, 90% of the data in the world had been created in the previous two years alone. It would take 2.5 million 1 terabyte hard drives to hold that much data – and that’s the amount of data created every day! The pace of data creation has only increased since 2011. This shift to exponential growth means that both infrastructure and management processes will need to be rethought. The way we work today was not built to handle 30-day product release cycles and the explosive growth that demands very rapid decision making. Our mindset needs to go from being linear, to being more flexible and conscious of how technology can solve problems. For example, within my first 90 days I plan to improve integration between our systems and improve the flow of data to speed our decision making for the benefit of our clients and our employees.
Scale and speed are critical. Think of how a company like Uber scales its business, for instance. Instead of buying new assets (i.e., cars) to fuel growth, Uber can add a new driver to its software-driven system at essentially zero cost. Scaling like this lends itself to tremendous speed and agility across the organization, which is exactly what businesses need in order to stay at the forefront of colocation and data center solutions. I will be focusing on how to build scale and speed into Digital Realty’s business processes. For example, I plan to look at areas where we can drive our marginal cost to as close to zero as possible when we add new services. This of course benefits our clients in maximizing the value they receive from us as their strategic partner.
I’m excited to be part of the Digital Realty team. Stay tuned for more news as we build a more agile company to better enable us to respond to our clients’ IT infrastructure and colocation requirements.
Michael Henry, Chief Information Officer (@executionmgmt)