1. How does Colt's strategy differ when it comes to different markets? What are the factors that influence those differences?
“The considerations that go into building a facility in multiple markets is not just about building the infrastructure itself. It involves investment in the right connectivity, carriers, Internet Exchange (IX) providers, building an operations team with the requisite health and safety requirements, ensuring robust cyber and physical security – the list goes on.
Expanding into a new market also requires specific local market knowledge, which goes far beyond speaking the local language. It also applies to deep understanding of the cultures, values and the way business operates in the region. It can take months, even years, to gain these critical insights to establish a strong and effective local presence.
An experienced hyperscale data centre provider will have dedicated local market teams in each region that understand and are able to add value to your needs within the specific region. Relying on their expertise will ensure your operations in the new market are efficient from the get-go.
2. How, for example, would you compare the trends that define Europe, the US, and APAC, and how do things like customer demand and tech adoption differ across those regions?
“Colt DCS operates several carrier-neutral data centres across Europe and Asia. Each one is situated in a prime location, carefully selected to provide maximum performance and security for our customers.
From our experience, we know that each region has its own nuances. While diversifying and scaling up operations across multiple regions and markets offers the competitive advantage, it’s vital to understand those differences and be a local expert for your customers.
Furthermore, with data protection initiatives and laws such as GDPR being implemented, there is much uncertainty around what kinds of data can be processed or collocated in specific locations, making regulatory compliance a priority.
As laws continually evolve by the day, the right approach to staying compliant is to work hand in hand with local providers that already have presence across multiple regions and understand the intricacies around particular regulations.”
On APAC expansion:
“We have seen a steady increase in demand from digital services. Most notably, we’ve experienced a massive spike in demand across APAC, which remains a strategic region in our expansion plans. In fact, from our experience, the need for large-scale data centre capacity outstrips supply. The rapid adoption of cloud services is further supported by the Japanese government’s efforts to move their IT systems to the cloud and to promote the country’s Digital Economy.
Japan remains a key area of focus for our regional expansion, where the demand for large-scale data centre capacity outstrips supply. Colt DCS currently have 50MW existing built in Japan, which will almost triple to 140MW following our recent joint venture with Mitsui.
On the other hand, India is another focal point in our expansion programme. The country is very much catching up with the rest of the world and is an extremely quick adopter of anything digital. It has one of the strongest growth rates of mobile phone adoption and is a centre of data analytics excellence. One of the key things in this market is also the low cost of data, which is much cheaper than any other country in the world.”
3. Could you outline the process that Colt undergoes when looking to enter a new market?
“When it comes to operating effectively in the long-term, facing customer demands and global business challenges, a key factor is location. Whether an organisation’s aim is to grow capabilities in a new region, retain an advantage over competitors or to simply expand reach, streamlining operations to be as efficient, effective, and scalable as possible is essential. Being in the right location can give businesses the vital edge they need to achieve this.
However, location is not the only factor we consider. There is a plethora of underlying site selection criteria including scalability of the site, power availability, low environmental risks and potential for sustainable operations.
The availability and accessibility to efficient network or fibre connection is also of key priority. Last but least, proximity to customers helps ensure smooth experience, which in turn can have a significant impact in improved customer satisfaction and retention.”
4. Why are joint ventures - like your JV with CPP, or Iron Mountain and Web Werks, or Digital Realty and Brookfield - gaining traction throughout the industry?
“Looking at the recent joint venture moves in the market, we can see that many are driven by the need to access capital and to diversify risk for their investors.
We tend to approach such relationships differently – our decisions to join forces are driven by the goal to accelerate our business by leveraging the strengths of our partners.
We focus on building sustainable relationships with partners locally, and this allows us to increase and accelerate our presence in those markets. For instance, the recent joint venture between Fidelity and Mitsui allows Colt DCS to further supercharge its hyperscale strategy in Japan, where we have seen unprecedented success.
Being a provider with multi-market presence, it is essential to nurture those relationships and leverage the unique knowledge and expertise in our partners’ respective regions.”