When I joined Global Switch, the Tai Seng Singapore data centre was in its very early days, but even then I could see the potential of what we were offering. From my background in IT and disaster recovery, and with the way internet use was growing, I knew that bringing discreet server locations under one roof with the leading carriers was a great move. The fact that we have submarine cables landing inside the data centre itself was another unique feature. It all added up to an excellent sales pitch that proved a big appeal for more and more businesses.
We were a small team back then and I got to work closely with the Operations Director and build the business up almost rack by rack. That is a once-in-a-career opportunity and I loved the challenge of it.
Our customers were mainly financial institutions and corporates in the first few years, attracted by the low capital expenditure of taking space in a data centre and the access to top quality outsourcing at a reasonable price. With the liberalising of the market and the arrival of more carrier companies, that added a new dimension to the business and brought in a lot more companies. The net result was that we saw pretty much constant growth and our sales went from strength to strength.
With both our Tai Seng and Woodlands Singapore data centres now reaching capacity, I have been given the opportunity to move into the role of Sales Director for the Asia Pacific region. Focusing on the Hong Kong data centre, it is a chance to leverage the relationships I have built over the years and bring even more business to what is now officially the largest carrier-neutral data centre in Hong Kong. We are a much bigger team now with all the resources and support that brings, so I am the connection between the customer on one side and the operational specialists, project managers, lawyers and other specialists on the other. It is a combination of sales manager and diplomat to a degree!
Obviously Hong Kong has been going through a period of geopolitical uncertainty, but what is clear is that it is going to continue to be a key financial and commercial hub for the region. Both state-owned and private businesses in China are going to be a key driving force going forwards, so I am drawing on all my longstanding contacts in mainland China to compete for a bigger slice of those segments.
The world of data centres has changed unrecognisably since I started two decades ago, which has been fascinating and brought lots of new possibilities. But what I love is that there are elements of my role that are the same whether I am selling a new data centre in Singapore or Hong Kong – that’s the thrill I get from going out, making connections and winning business.