With more than 20 years of experience across both the data centre industry and the broader technology space, Mark Fong has worked with some of the most innovative companies in the world. His previous roles at Cisco, Oracle, Symantec, Equinix (to name a few). make him uniquely well-positioned to understand the needs of enterprise technology customers, both in Singapore and across the rest of APAC.
Reflecting on his diverse resume, Fong notes that, for him, data centres feel like the right place to be. “I actually moved back to mainstream technology in backup and storage after my first 4 years stint in the data centre space because I wanted to get back into the thick of things,” he says. “But, within my first three months of being back in mainstream technology, pretty much every customer and partner I engaged with either had or was interested in understanding what data centre strategy they should embark on as part of their digital journey.”
The sheer necessity of data centre infrastructure - a trend that he sees only growing more central to the core strategies of modern enterprises - made an undeniable impression on Fong, who explains that he quickly “realised that the data centre space was now mainstream and a critical starting point of a customer’s journey.”
Fong joined Digital Realty’s team as the regional vice president of the company’s APAC and Japanese operations in September of 2019, with a view to “lead the company’s sales strategy and execution in Asia Pacific and Japan covering hyperscale, scale, enterprise colocation and interconnection customers.” In the role, he has spent the past year leveraging his extensive experience and expertise in order to both enable Digital Realty’s customers to achieve new milestones on their digital journeys, but also to both survive and thrive during the COVID-19 crisis. Fong says he’s lucky to have worked in both the mainstream technology space and the data centre industry, as it puts him “in a unique position to fully appreciate many of our customers’ and partners’ journeys.”
Those journeys have undeniably taken some unexpected turns over the past year. Fong explains that the APAC data centre landscape - which was already undergoing massive, rapid changes due to factors like the rise of IoT and the public cloud - is evolving faster than anyone could have predicted under the pressures of COVID-19. More and more businesses are shifting to the hybrid cloud, and Digital Realty has been fast-tracking its expansion to keep up with demand.
Working to orchestrate an expansion of this scale across multiple discrete and diverse markets is no mean feat at the best of times, let alone under the multiple restrictions placed on international travel during the past 12 months. As always, Fong says, technology has been key to finding ways to make progress in the new normal. “Apart from the lack of travel, technology has made it such that customer and staff engagement is pretty much seamless and, apart from the initial months when the pandemic hit and getting used to the new normal, my team and I quickly settled into the new way of doing things,” he explains. “It works well. In fact, I have found that the wide array of technologies we now use for work has enabled us to better connect with overseas teams and forge an even stronger relationship despite all the pandemic-related travel restrictions.”
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