Equinix and Colotraq: joint data centre pioneers
Jules Johnston is Vice President, Americas Partner Sales at data centre company Equinix. Having joined in early 2016, she has overseen a move to new sales channels as part of the company’s work. “The team we've put together in the last few years has helped the company go from what was single digits in terms of partner-connected selling to something greater than 30% of our bookings globally,” she says. “We're on a committed path to do the majority of our business with partners, so it's been very exciting to be part of that. The team I lead today is the 40-person Americas partner sales organisation, and our job is to work with partners and enable their collaboration with our field and inside sellers to jointly serve shared customers.”
While Equinix is renowned as a co-location and data centre organisation, Johnston is clear that the company takes a broader view. “We really think of ourselves as an interconnection company and as the global platform for digital business. When companies build their digital infrastructure and platforms within Equinix, what they're able to do is dynamically connect to the world's largest ecosystem of clouds, data, suppliers and customers.” Constructing such an ecosystem has required a significant amount of infrastructure. “Equinix has invested in over 210 data centres around the world, or international business exchanges, IBXs, as we call them. That allows Equinix to be able to consistently deliver on the digital strategy needs of any company who is either global today or aspires to be.”
Equinix works closely with colocation broker Colotraq, with the organisation having been one of Equinix’s master agents for around fifteen years. “Colotraq is a fellow pioneer in the data center space,” says Johnston. “As one of the oldest master agents in telecom, they’ve intersected with us naturally. Equinix started as a place for the world's networks to come together in a neutral fashion and Colotraq also prides itself on being network neutral.”
The partnership extends far beyond the surface level, with Colotraq agents and Equinix solutions architects jointly meeting with customers to advise on digital edge strategy briefings. “One of the places that we collaborate is in helping customers with their network optimisation strategies,” says Johnston. “We have the largest collection of networks in the world in Equinix data centers, and Colotraq advises companies on optimising their network strategies and spend. We've had a really long, productive association given that overlap.”
Incoming trends such as 5G, AI, IoT, blockchain and more all signal a bright future for Equinix and its cloud offering, with the company continuing to prove invaluable for customers even during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Equinix was able to help a global financial powerhouse stand up 120,000 employees remotely in just three days. In this current climate, companies have a real need for that sort of flexibility and we're able to use our digital platform to help companies make those kinds of moves.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.