Put training on the corporate agenda


12 October 2014
Andrew Stevens of CNet Training

The data centre industry needs to grow up and put training - both technical and leadership training - on the corporate agenda. “People are the real asset in the data centre and they should be part of the overall development plan,” said Andrew Stevens, chief executive officer and managing director of CNet Training.

Sharing his views on staffing and manpower development issues facing the sector in Southeast Asia, Stevens noted that training is still being seen more as a cost rather than an investment, especially in this region.

“The  growing skills gap is an issue for the Southeast Asia region as it still believes in obtaining highly-sought skills at the cheapest price and that badges are more important than content.”

The main issue he sees is lack of commitment to actually developing a training plan and following it through. “Too many operators are just delivering training in an adhoc reactive way and really not planning what they need in the business,” he said.

Rarely do they audit the skills they have in the business, identify gaps and then act on them as they would if it were the case of a hardware or software failure, he observed.

Different operators may have different priorities when it comes to the business issues that they need to address, and hence may require different skillsets. For example, managing efficiency within the data centre and ensuring reliability may be vital for many operators, while others may believe that it is more important to keep up with exponential data growth. All these aspects of data centre operations will also have to be monitored and reported while making sure costs are kept low as budgets are tightened. “I think that every operator will have an different opinion as to which one is more important but they are all aiming towards the same end goals of ensuring that the facility runs and delivers the needs of the business,” said Stevens.  

To achieve these end goals, operators have to understand the fundamental needs of the company going forward, and put in place an action plan to meet those needs. This includes having a training plan for all staff, to ensure that they acquire expertise up to a sufficient level to best perform their set roles within the facility. As Stevens pointed out, “If you don’t upgrade your people, how can a business truly develop and grow?”

In his view, the business should have an 18-month training and development skills matrix and data centre customers, on their part, should start asking questions about the skill sets available in the supply chain.  “They have a right to ask… they are paying (for the services),” he said.

  • Andrew Stevens will be sharing his insights on Staffing & Development Plans at the Data Centre World Asia conference, which will be held at the Suntec Exhibition Centre in Singapore on 29-30 October 2014.