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After the pandemic: The new normal, new thinking

The latest data centre report from Business Critical Solutions (BCS) has highlighted a decline in overall economic confidence, difficulties with the global supply chain and a predicted significant reduction in the expansion of in-house data centre space.

The Summer Report 2020, now in its 12th year is undertaken by independent research house IX Consulting, who capture the views of over 3,000 senior data centre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users. It is commissioned by BCS, (Business Critical Solutions) the specialist services provider to the digital infrastructure industry.

One of the most dramatic sentiment changes in this survey has been in the predicted expansion of in-house data centre space, with only 21% of respondents expecting an expansion over the coming 12 months.

Jim Hart, CEO at BCS explains, “This is the lowest proportion recorded since the inception of our survey nearly 12 years ago and is significantly below the long-term average of this measure which stands just shy of 50%. Is this an indicator of cutting floor space and moving to a more flexible model to cope with changing working patterns?”

The survey also provides some evidence that the results of the global pandemic causes concerns amongst developer and investor respondents. When queried about their expectations on portfolio expansion in the coming year, only around half indicated that they would expand over that period; a substantial fall from the 92% recorded six months ago.

However, despite the overall decline in economic confidence, it is significant that the proportion of end-user respondents who expressed their intention to expand operations with an external infrastructure partner over the next 12 months has remained close to the long-term average of 42%.

“This provides evidence that the appetite for third-party managed IT real estate solutions could remain relatively buoyant, despite the coming global economic downturn,” comments Hart.

“With reported latency issues and variable download speeds, this sentiment is further underlined by the opportunities of the potential changes to working patterns and how our digital infrastructure is delivered.”

Other challenges were highlighted in the survey with difficulties with the supply chain cited high as a pain factor, with 24% placing it at the top of their list. 

“Difficulties in sourcing materials from domestic suppliers who are in lockdown is problematic in itself, but in a high-value industry where supply chains are increasingly global, there are significant challenges when movement is restricted, or priorities given to movement of essential medical equipment.

“Looking into the near future, solutions to these challenges will require new thinking which we at BCS have been developing and successfully implementing with our clients.

“Will this be the new normal or a paradigm shift that sees technology being utilised to its full potential? There are many hurdles to face but opportunity exists. It is down to us to shape the opportunity and grasp it,” concludes Hart.

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