Witnesses Of Silent Industry Revolutions. Equinix’s EMEA Boss On Evolution, Acquisitions And Success
Equinix caters to more than 50 markets on five continents, evolving the world into a different place that is creating a plethora of opportunity. Bergen is one month into his new role at Equinix after leading sales for the company for six years and recalls the tremendous growth he witnessed.
“This is an exciting business because we get to witness silent revolutions in different industries happening at Equinix. For example, we have a good overview of what is happening in the insurance industry, where we see a silent revolution of analysing big data through to preventing calamities. We see industries like automotive linking with each other because of the digital transformation that is occurring, and driving innovation as a result,” he explains.
“Another great example is Brexit because the strategy of Equinix is to go with its customers anywhere they want to go at any point in time, whatever the outcome of Brexit is, it may lead to certain businesses moving from London to somewhere else, and we will enable the customers to do so. Moving from the sales leadership role I was currently in, to my present role, I am able to touch so many more customers, employees and people in the business alike.
“Equinix is a company that has such a huge growth track record and potential that is all about scaling, and with scaling comes complexity. One of my priorities is to put the customer at the centre, which in a larger organisation, would appear to be more of an effort to simplify the business.”
Bergen had the privilege to work for Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, in his past as a CEO in Silicon Valley.
“Ending up on a table with him he asked me the following questions: What is your biggest mistake in life? What did you learn from it? If you didn’t learn anything, you didn’t do anything useful in the first place. I thought this was a very great question, and I was very open about it and got the job within 20 minutes,” he said.
“What I bring to Equinix is exactly that. Learning from experiences whether they were good or bad.
Also, I have always been intrigued about what drives people, and that has developed into what drives teams, and I have seen the power of building strong teams, to which there is nothing more rewarding.” Bergen went on to explain that Equinix has always been led by IT professionals, adding that the entire leadership of Equinix truly understands cloud, connectivity, network applications, and the digital transformation.
“Many of our competitors have real estate people – they know better than anyone, how to build, lease, buy, and deploy real estate. That is a very different way of looking at this business,” he said.
“Success is driven by putting the right person in the right position.
“What you see in a company that has been growing as fast as Equinix is that the business sometimes outgrows the people. I want to put a lot of emphasis on talent management, as it is one of the key success factors of a business. The big change that we see everywhere is that companies have a tendency of going global. They move to other countries and continents, and they themselves physically go global. The second change we see is because of the cloud.”
Bergen explained that one of the ways Equinix is able to witness industry revolutions is through the launch of its cloud fabric, which allows its customers to seamlessly connect to their partners anywhere in the world.
“You can be in an Amsterdam IBX and connect to a customer, provider or partner in Paris without ever leaving the Equinix infrastructure. This has been put in place globally. When looking at the organisation side of things, we are adapting our organisation to move from concrete-based structures towards global structures,” he added.
“We are creating a global operations organisation because customers want the same IBX everywhere. They have no desire to have either a Dutch IBX or a French IBX – they want the exact same high-performance entity everywhere.”
Equinix’s investment in the EMEA market has been massive. Equinix acquired IXEurope back in 2007 for $482m.
They then bought Telecity Group for $3.6bn in 2015, which added a tremendous treasure of assets to the company, putting them on the EMEA map in an unprecedented way.
“We are now in 15 countries ranging from Dubai, Oman, to Helsinki, Bulgaria, Istanbul and all the big markets,” added Bergen.
“The investment has been really massive. In the six years, I have been with Equinix, we have tripled the revenue, which is only partly because of acquisitions, as we have an extremely strong and organic growth rate.” With acquisitions, comes challenges.
“We do acquisitions quite often, and those acquired companies often do not 100% adhere to the standard of Equinix. To have seamless processes and systems in place is the continuous challenge we face because of the acquisitions. However, we have developed that into an art, and we have been really good at it,” he highlighted.
“I tell people I have been CEO or in roles where I drive the business in the US – but I have never been in a company where I rarely ever have to visit a customer to apologise for the servers, which is rather unusual. This is what lets me know that Equinix is good at building high-quality IBX facilities.
“An example of this is when there was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, Equinix was the only data centre provider that stayed up and running. Likewise, when the notorious Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, we were the only data centre provider in New York that stayed up.
“We also see more customers including big cloud providers that use the smaller countries where we are present, as areas where they can first deploy with Equinix through our cloud fabrics, without actually investing in those regions. They wait until they see a good momentum with those customers locally, and then they invest. This is extremely attractive to them, as they do not want to run the risk of investing $100m or more in data centres, and then having to undo it because it did not take off.”
Bergen added that the worst thing for a data centre provider is to build a data centre and it remains empty. That is something you rarely recover from.
Industry: Data Centre
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