Our annual strategy day: a celebration of togetherness

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A great opportunity for everyone from both sites to come together to celebrate our achievements and bring us even closer as a team.

Last week we held our annual strategy day at the beautiful Ardencote Hotel in Warwick. It was a day that reminded us of the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving our goals as we get to grips with what still needs to be done (we have achieved a lot but acknowledge that there is still a lot more to do). And, importantly, it gave us an opportunity to bask in the progress we have made so far – including integrating two companies into one, developing a new brand and launching a brand-new website.

The order of the day

We kicked off the day with a company-wide session during which we reviewed our current position and heard from key people from sales, marketing, and operations who presented their challenges, progress and plans. It was also a chance for the board members to update us on company progress against their overall strategy, and for everyone to come together and celebrate the achievements that we have made together so far. After discussing our achievements over the past year, we moved forward to plan next year’s goals, including objectives, targets, and measures of success that would help us achieve these goals.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the two-hour indoor games tournament that followed – it was a real leveller! During this time, we truly saw everyone’s personalities shine through and a fiercely competitive spirit was revealed in some quarters – there was no hiding the drive and determination. The competition may have been fierce, but the atmosphere was friendly and it brought out the best in everyone. Ultimately, the blue team emerged victorious after dominating in the indoor curling, basketball hoops, and table football rounds, to name a few. In the true spirit of togetherness (the theme of the day), we tried not to focus too much on winners or losers – although people brandishing medals did make it hard to forget!

To wrap up the day’s activities, we enjoyed a meal where we could kick back and chat with each other informally. It provided us with an opportunity to strengthen bonds between colleagues who otherwise might not have interacted during work hours. As we toasted to a productive day, we couldn’t help but feel excited for what’s ahead. These meetups aren’t just about shaping the future of our company; they’re about strengthening connections and embracing our team’s dynamism.

For now, we will continue integrating the FRN and MCR teams and collaborating on projects and processes to so we can work as one amalgamated team across our two sites to create a stronger and more unified presence in the market. As a combined business, we can now offer our clients access to enterprise grade colocation in the two most economically active regions of the UK — the south east and the north west — along with a range of additional services including high performance active-active cloud, in-house engineering services, and service management and support — all from our environmentally efficient, carrier neutral data centres, which have been designed to optimise our clients’ business growth and help their businesses achieve their ESG goals.

Finding out more

If you’re considering colocation options for your business, there’s no better time to get in contact. We’re excited to be building two new data centres to cater to growing demand. The construction of the new MCR facility is underway, promising cutting-edge infrastructure and services. Planning is approved for our new FRN facility on our existing site, so construction will begin on that soon. Contact us today to discuss your specific colocation needs and discover how our upcoming facilities can propel your operations forward and fuel your growth.

2023 – celebrating achievements and looking forward to new opportunities

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We have had an exciting year in 2023 and there were many highlights to celebrate.

As we approach the end of the year, we are taking a closer look at some of the accomplishments that made 2023 such a memorable year for us.

We have made great strides in 2023, marked by several accolades and successful ventures in our bid to provide innovative, resilient, secure and efficient colocation solutions to our clients. As the demand for data centres continues to increase, we remain perfectly positioned to meet the evolving needs of our clients with our ongoing construction projects at our London edge and Manchester sites; two new data centre facilities (FRN2 and MCR2) will be coming online in 2024/2025.

Embedding our multi-site processes

2023 was our first full year as the ‘Datum Group’ and we have very much enjoyed integrating our activities with our Manchester site and learning from each other. This collaborative effort has helped us to provide even better colocation solutions and new opportunities for clients.

Our ten-year anniversary

2023 marked the 10-year anniversary of the official opening of our flagship data centre (FRN1). Our vision of becoming the most energy-efficient and flexible colocation provider is what drove the founding of Datum in 2013. This anniversary milestone gave us an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going, and it inspired us to keep pushing ourselves to innovate and improve.

Megabuyte award winner

In 2023, we won the prestigious Megabuyte ‘Best Performing Company – IT Managed Services’ Emerging Stars award at the Megabuyte100 awards – our third nomination and first win. This award speaks to the hard work and dedication of our team and symbolises our outstanding performance in the data centre space.

The opening of Hall 4

The brand-new Hall 4 at FRN1 (our flagship facility in Farnborough) was opened in 2023 with 380 rack positions. This state-of-the-art data hall provides a scalable, flexible and secure environment with redundant cooling, power and connectivity solutions.

Our first GRESB rating

We received our first GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) rating of four stars in 2023. It was recognition of the hard work and dedication of the entire team in sustainably managing the operations and promoting ESG practices across our company. It showed the progress made in sustainability and validated the commitment to sustainable practices.

Successful ISO audits

All our ISO accreditations were successfully audited in 2023, displaying our adherence to industry standards and best practices. The audits affirmed our commitment to providing secure, efficient and reliable data centre solutions for businesses.

The launch of our networking event

We launched ‘Get Reconnected’, our quarterly tech business networking event in Manchester. This event brings together IT managers and industry experts to discuss the latest trends, innovations and challenges in the world of tech and, as such, it provides a platform for thought leadership and exchange of knowledge. Register here.

The start of a new year is always a good opportunity to take stock and make changes

If 2024 is likely to bring a move off premise for your company, then we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements with you.

60 seconds with… Melissa Hagan

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Describe your typical day at Datum in no more than 20 words.

No day is the same! Client renewals, service reviews and onboarding new clients. The list goes on…

How did you end up in the role you are in at Datum?

I started with Datum as their Business Administrator and quickly moved into service management within the first six months. I was Datum’s Client Service Manager for a couple of years, I then became the Head of Service Management, and now I’m the Client Engagement Director. Having not worked within this industry before, this was a steep learning curve (which hasn’t ended yet). I have always been encouraged by Datum to take on responsibilities that are outside my comfort zone to help me develop professionally – and so far, so good…

Best thing about working in tech?

Learning new things – the industry never stands still.

Worst thing about working in tech?

Getting used to the ever-evolving jargon.

Which one piece of technology could you not live without?

Definitely my sat-nav. Sense of direction is not my strong point.

Which one piece of technology would you ditch into room 101?

Wired headphones – I have never had a set that didn’t break within minutes.

Apple or Android?

Apple.

Describe the Datum team in three words.

Hardworking, committed, friendly.

I had to ask… I’ve heard rumours about an interesting pet. Tell us more…

We recently got a new member of the Hagan family, our Bernese Mountain dog, Remy. He is now seven months old and already weighs 32kg. He’s a gentle giant with a lot more growing to do – he will be around 60kgs when he is fully grown. He has a wonderful personality and his favourite things to do are eat, sleep, have cuddles and play tug of war (in that order).

Introducing Sam Spencer – our Client Engagement Manager

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Sam joined Datum in October 2022 as Client Services Manager.

She was responsible for client satisfaction and ongoing client support including creating and delivering service reviews, effective communication of any maintenance or client notifications, and delivery on ongoing client satisfaction.

Then, at the beginning of this month, Sam was promoted to Client Engagement Manager. This role entails providing sales and account support to our Manchester client base including following up on sales enquiries, onboarding new clients, contract management, renewals and monthly reporting.

We caught up with Sam to find out about her new role, and her experience of Datum since joining us in 2022.

Why did you choose Datum?

In all honesty, the deciding factor that made me chose Datum was the people I met during the interview process. Coming from an entirely different industry, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to step into the world of IT, especially as I knew nothing about data centres at the time. But I spoke with Melissa Hagan during my initial telephone interview, and she was extremely personable and friendly. I later met other members of the team during the next stage of interviews and everyone I met made me feel comfortable – nobody gave the impression that they were being anything but honest about what it would be like at Datum.

Why did you decide to go for the role of Client Engagement Manager?

One of the (many) attractive things about Datum was that it was made clear to me during the interview process that the company would support my self-development, so I wanted to capitalise on this. I liked the idea of the client engagement role as it allowed me to continue in a client-facing function whilst offering an opportunity to learn new skills and get to know a different area of the business.

What are you hoping to bring to the role?

One of the real differences about Datum is that we are client-centric, which is far from standard in the world of data centres. I’m hoping to bring that focus with me to our Manchester client base and show that we actively work together with our clients to come to develop solutions that work for everyone. I come from a customer care background so I’m hoping I can approach interactions with our clients from a slightly different perspective to help them achieve their goals and support their continued growth.

What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you at Datum?

I’m not sure there is a ‘normal’ day as every day is different. The one thing I can depend on is receiving a large volume of emails! The majority of my time is currently spent working alongside our operations team to ensure that we are communicating with our clients in a timely manner about delivering new orders, service reviews, planned maintenance, client queries and requests, etc.

Which element of your role do you enjoy most?

I think my favourite part of the role is onboarding new clients. This can sometimes be a really challenging part of the role as every client has different requirements; some may have tight deadlines, some may have unusual requests, whilst others may be new to colocation so may need a little extra support. My role is like managing a project start to finish; ensuring everyone across each department is collaborating effectively towards the end goal, and problem-solving should there be any glitches. This is usually a good opportunity to build a relationship with our clients (and first impressions count), so being organised is a must!

What’s it like being part of a growing company like Datum?

As I joined Datum in October 2022, the acquisition had already been announced, so I don’t have the ‘before’ to compare the ‘now’ to. What I have experienced during this time, however, is a real sense of not wanting to make changes for change’s sake, a desire to make people feel valued and to share best practices to improve the company as a whole (not just enforcing the ‘Datum way’ onto the Manchester team).

What’s been your ‘highlight’ so far since being at Datum, and why?

I’d say that there have been two stand-out highlights so far…

Our first whole-team event (Manchester and Farnborough); a strategy day in Warwick followed by team-building cocktail making and dinner. This was our first real chance to get to know everyone in the Manchester team and, whilst it could have felt awkward, everyone really put the effort in and used it as an opportunity to talk to someone they wouldn’t normally have much interaction with. The senior management team really encourage us to be sociable so having the time and space to get to know each other really does help to strengthen working relationships.

The second highlight was our charity walk along the Jurassic Coast. I’ve experienced charity initiatives in previous jobs that felt more like a PR stunt for social media. But Datum actively encourages us to take part in some form of fundraising for the company’s chosen charity (or one chosen by us) and actively supports us whilst we do it. There has a been a real sense of camaraderie in our support of the Samaritans this year; in addition to our Jurassic Coast walk we are taking part in the ‘Samarathon’ (walking or jogging 26.2 miles during July) and most of the team are getting involved. My mum and sister are both volunteers for the Samaritans so I’m really pleased it’s a charity we are supporting – we are already planning our next big charity challenge for 2024.

Interested in joining our team?

Sam Spencer is part of our growing client service team and will be supporting clients at our Manchester facility. Meanwhile, we are currently recruiting for a client service manager at our Farnborough facility (Sam will hand over the reins once this person is in position). Melissa Hagan is Client Engagement Director for the entire Datum Group (currently comprising facilities in Farnborough and Manchester) and oversees our client engagement activities across the group.

To find out more about the colocation services we provide from our sites in the South East and the North West, get in touch and, ideally, book a tour of our facilities.

Our data centre accreditations – a year of audit successes

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A recent blog discussed our data centre accreditations and why we believe them to be so important.

We noted in this blog that whilst the initial challenge may be to achieve the accreditations in the first place, there is a lot of work to be done to maintain the accreditations and make adjustments to ensure compliance as requirements or expectations change.

To demonstrate that we are continually achieving the standards required (only by doing this can we continue to display the ISO quality mark), we are subject to regular audits. So, in line with the Combined Management System (CMS) implemented at our London edge facility (which incorporates ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001) all of our ISO accreditations were audited this year under the watchful eye of James Hagan, our Data Centre Engineer and Compliance Officer.

Our year started with two audits in January (ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 50001:2018) followed by audits for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 in May. In all cases, we were recommended for recertification and are pleased to report that the audits confirmed that our CMS is continuing to achieve its intended outcome and is assisting with the strategic direction of the continued operations of our organisations and our future growth plans. As well as the positive feedback we received, we were pleased to take on board some opportunities for further improvement, which help guide our continual improvement activities.

ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management)

An on-site audit was conducted in January 2023 and, based on the assessment of our Environmental Management System (EMS), a recommendation for recertification was made.

The assessment findings identified the overall strengths of our management system within the areas covered by the assessment, and concluded that:

  • the processes reviewed across our organisation are clearly linked to our business strategy;
  • clear progress has been made since our last assessment evidenced by the closure of previous nonconformities;
  • effective management review processes are in place;
  • fire and spill tests are up to date;
  • there are no obstructions in corridors;
  • our operational control is effective, including equipment inspections, site tours and aspects identification;
  • our contractor control processes are effective.

ISO 50001:2018 (Energy Management)

Based on the aspects sampled as part of the remote assessment, the auditors concluded that our Energy Management System (EnMS) is effective at operating to planned arrangements and delivering intended outcomes, and that commitment to continual improvement and improved energy performance was evident.

ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management) and ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management)

Both certifications were assessed in May and a positive recommendation for continued certification was made.

Next up...

In August this year, our Manchester site will be audited for its ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management) recertification. We’ll update you on that once the audit has taken place.

Overall, these accreditations (and our other non-ISO accreditations) demonstrate that we have implemented (and maintain) robust management systems and processes to ensure quality and efficiency in our operations, whilst offering us a very clear framework for continual improvement. And, importantly, they show our clients (and potential clients) that we take our operations seriously and are committed to being the very best we can be.

Interested in finding out more?

We have colocation data centres in the two most economically active regions of the UK – the South East (FRN1 – London edge) and the North West (MCR1 – Manchester), and are embarking on the construction of two brand new facilities at both sites (FRN2 and MCR2). So, this is the perfect time to get in touch to discuss your requirements for off-premise data centre footprint.

60 seconds with... Sam Spencer

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What was the first job role to land you on your tech career ladder?

This one!

Describe your typical day at Datum in no more than 20 words.

Collaborating with all departments to ensure the best possible communication with our clients.

Best thing about working in tech?

I learn something new every day.

Worst thing about working in tech?

Some of the technical jargon – where would I be without Google!?

Which one piece of technology could you not live without?

ApplePay

Which one piece of technology would you ditch into room 101?

Self-driving cars – this is only going to make people even worse at driving…

Best tech innovation of the last 12 months?

Broadly ‘tech’ (well, more ‘food tech’). The best innovation? Alpro yoghurts in more flavours – it’s great to finally have more of a choice!

Who’s your tech hero?

Will Wright creator of The Sims

Apple or Android?

Apple

What was your first ever games console, and your favourite game?

The Sega Megadrive and Streets Of Rage – I was always Axel and would constantly punch my teammate in the head for fun.

Describe the Datum team in three words

Welcoming, collaborative & knowledgeable

I couldn't help but notice the Alpaca in your photo...?

Yes, that’s Dave. We formed an attachment on a recent Alpaca walk but he’s too big to be a house pet so we had to end our friendship prematurely. I did think this might be an opportunity to beat Melissa Hagan on the big pet front, but it wasn’t to be, unfortunately.

60 seconds with… Will Sargent

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What was the first job role to land you on your tech career ladder?

Selling virtual servers for NetBenefit (it wasn’t called cloud back then!).

Describe your typical day at Datum in no more than 20 words

Prospecting for new partners, responding to enquiries, completing RFPs, writing proposals/presentations, meeting clients/partners face-to-face at Datum.

Best thing about working in tech?

Designing solutions that make our clients’ lives easier.

Worst thing about working in tech?

When the tech goes wrong (not our tech, of course – our tech doesn’t go wrong!).

Which one piece of technology could you not live without?

My iPhone. It’s crazy to think that we ever lived without them.

Which one piece of technology would you ditch into room 101?

AI-controlled chat or phone conversations. I just want to speak to a human.

Best tech innovation of the last 12 months?

The development of synthetic fuels (hopefully an alternative to electric cars).

Who’s your tech hero?

Adrian Newey, CTO for Redbull Racing. He is a genius when it comes to designing F1 cars.

Apple or Android?

Apple (it just works – unlike Android).

What was your first ever games console, and your favourite game?

Commodore Amiga a500+ and Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix.

Describe the Datum team in three words

Flexible. Responsive. Dedicated.