News

15th April 2020

Overcoming adversity – three perspectives on the new order of things at Datum during lockdown

Nathan Brown (Data Centre Engineer) on keeping the fires stoked in Datum’s engine room 

As an engineer at Datum, I am still working full time at the Datum facility as part of the on-site engineering team. Our role involves ticket and email checks, site checks, managing client requests, engaging with clients on site and supervising any unescorted engineers on site (where visits are absolutely necessary). We are also responsible for tracking stock usage and preparing the client power usage information for billing and monthly service reviews. Whilst the general foot traffic on site has reduced, our team’s workload has actually increased, mainly due to the increase in remote hands services in order to minimise client visits to Datum. 

In addition to increased/altered workloads, there have also been some changes to the wider site security that have increased workloads for those of us still working on site. Of course, we are all adhering to social distancing measures – something that’s taken a bit of getting used to - but we have kept to our existing shift patterns/hours so that we can continue supporting our clients as well as before. It’s challenging but rewarding!

“Our on-site roles are vital. By being here we can minimise the number of visitors to Datum and facilitate home working for the thousands of staff across all of Datum’s client enterprises.” 

Improvements to Datum’s IT set-up and telephony equipment over the past three years have paid handsome dividends now that ongoing communication between disparate Datum staff is more important than ever. Daily team video calls and seamless and full secure access to all of Datum’s IT systems for remote-working staff means that there has been little to no impact on Datum staff or clients in terms of business operations. 

Once the dust has settled and normality has resumed, I’m excited about focusing more on new client growth and the imminent build-out of the upper floor at Datum. Work aside, I can’t wait to have a few days off, see some family and friends and possibly even venture to Cornwall (apparently, I will have earned it by the time this is all over …). 

Clive Mears (Head of Security at Datum) on ensuring security in uncertain times 

I oversee the security team at Datum, which is in charge of access control for all Datum clients and other visitors to the data centre. This entails processing access reports and incident reports (when required), updating client access lists, facilitating deliveries to the facility and reviewing CCTV. 

As the head of the security team, it is impossible for me to work from home, so I am still working on site as usual. Because my work is classed as critical, I carry a work authorisation letter with me just in case I get stopped by the authorities to question whether my journey to work is a necessary one. Should I be unable to come into work for any reason further down the line, we have a relief team of personnel in place who can cover shifts and I would continue to be contactable by mobile or email.

Despite my role ostensibly continuing as normal, there have been knock-on effects from the ongoing coronavirus situation. My security remit requires me to work on two fronts: security at the Datum facility and site security for the Cody Technology Park as a whole (which is managed by QinetiQ). As all visitors and deliveries to Datum have to pass through the main gates first before being received by us, our security role is affected by the frequently changing security parameters at Cody Park level. This means briefing other members of the security team daily about any changes to security protocol. 

“Security is paramount. Despite minor changes to processes, our overall security levels haven’t been compromised in any way.”

Our biggest challenge is controlling and enforcing social distancing and hygiene measures once at Datum. This is vital, of course, but very time consuming and adds a whole new dimension to our roles. Social distancing has removed much of the customer interaction from my daily activities, which is something I am looking forward to resuming once things are back to normal – that and extending my daily walks again once they are no longer limited due to lockdown restrictions.

 

The whole Datum team is working very hard to ensure that business operations continue as before, and we are confident that our service levels will continue to remain unaffected. We were pleased to receive this feedback from our partner Keysource:

“Datum has been supporting our requests and proactively updating us about site status. The management team is still giving the same first-rate service, engineering have been very supportive via portal and have been providing the same excellent service on site, and security are providing key updates on delivery, site access and protocols for visitors.”

Melissa Munday (Datum’s Client Service Manager) on service management from a distance

As Client Service Manager, I am tasked with building and maintaining client relationships and orchestrating service improvements to meet and exceed client expectations. This is an important role for a service-focused business like Datum, and it’s a very varied one; no two days are the same because my workload is driven by client requirements on a daily basis. 

I’m normally office-based and spend my days collaborating with members of the Datum team across all departments to ensure that our clients are receiving the high levels of service they expect from us. My ongoing responsibilities include client calls, ticket tracking, contract management on our CRM tool, notifying finance regarding billing, and processing and publishing service review data and presenting this data to clients. 

The switch to remote working since mid-March has been a fairly straightforward one for me. My office equipment is set up in my home study, so I have been able to continue with my service management role with little or no impact on clients. Whilst face-to-face discussions are clearly out of the question at the moment, I am still able to hold regular update meetings and service review meetings with clients via Microsoft Teams or Ring Central.

My biggest concern when I set up my home office was feeling remote from the rest of the Datum team, but we foresaw this and immediately implemented team conference calls twice a day to keep everybody abreast of the latest developments with datacentre works and client projects. 

“I still miss physically being part of the Datum team – it’s a close team so I miss seeing everyone every day.” 

Unlike so many others, I can’t even say that I am saving myself the daily commute by working at home because I live so close to Datum. But I’m thankful that everything is ticking along so well now that the new routines are in place, even though I’ll be grateful for my ‘normal’ once it has resumed, particularly seeing my colleagues and clients face-to-face and spending time with my friends and family. But, for now, I will always be on the other end of a video link, if you need me ….

Please get in contact if you would like to talk to us about how Datum can help you solve future IT infrastructure challenges.

If you are an existing client and need to get in touch, please contact your Service Manager or call the main office number on 0845 568 0123 (8am to 6pm) or 0845 568 0555 out of hours (6pm to 8am).

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