How well your organization hires has a lot to do with the stage of your corporate culture. We see a lot of trends in the data center industry as both rising stars and more-seasoned organizations experience growth in good and bad ways. As with all things, we see cycles of interest, intrigue, and downright popularity with different companies at different times.
A string of successes springs marketing departments into action so that Company
A is suddenly the new darling of the industry. i/o Data Centers and Slessman,
for instance, have gotten a fair amount of press lately and appear to be on to
something with their more holistic modular approaches. In the future, to
capitalize on the trend, press releases and recruiting requisitions should be
planned to launch simultaneously.
Where your company is in the cycle should dictate your recruiting strategy,
approach to interviewing, and communications/message management. I’ll highlight
a few firms that present entirely different situations to a candidate to hire.
The beauty of Digital Realty Trust (DLR) is that it is a sustainable leader and
precedent setter that other organizations can emulate. But even the bellwether
of the industry has had some growing pains. Its market leadership and
ever-growing pipeline of work on an international basis continue to pave the
way toward the digital economy.
Kudos to Michael Foust for the sustainability, particularly as more than a few
executives associated with the growth of DLR’s early days have moved on to
other pastures. Chris Crosby dipped his toe into a more entrepreneurial pool
but is now taking some well-earned time off to ponder his next move. Chris
Trout separated from DLR a couple years back and was recruited by Silver Lake
to open Vantage. Ted Martin headed DLR’s facility operations and moved on to
head Critical Environments for AIG via CBRE. Mike Manos also spent some time at
DLR before moving to Nokia. These changes occurred during a transition of an
“involved in everything” informal model to a highly accountable, sustaining
business model. The business identity outgrew the early personalities that
helped define it.
DLR opened the market for multiple other wholesalers and colocation firms that
entered the market more recently and are enjoying their own relative successes.
Take Involta for example. Involta is a colocation firm that remained low
profile because it had two data centers are Iowa, and neither of them is in Des
Moines, has a huge logo on it, or belongs to TEAM/TDS.
Involta is making waves with a second-tier city marketing strategy. The company
is moving out of Iowa to new markets across the Midwest and opening new data
centers in Akron, OH, and Duluth, MN, which are not hotbeds of experienced data
enter talent. Involta’s simple pioneering approach presents an incredible
opportunity for experienced data center business professionals who are willing
to relocate resulting in a smaller company, more hats, more experience, more
future value. But candidates need to be attracted to the ambitious culture of
the company as much as they do to the assigned job function. This is the next
generation, and there will be more.
How about Lee Technologies, a data center services success story that grew from
a mechanical procurement firm to leading the data center integrated design,
build, services model and then was purchased by Schneider Electric? Who handles
recruiting? Which company are they recruiting for? How would one qualify as a
candidate for Lee Technologies, a 300+ person organization that was growing and
changing rapidly? And, would anyone suggest the same candidate to Domenic
Alcaro, who is the Schneider executive charged with integrating Lee
Technologies into the Schneider family of companies?
Mergers and acquisitions of this sort often produce a clash of cultures, and
some flight from Lee Technologies should be expected. Replacing these people
utilizing the Schneider resource engine will change the culture of Lee
Technologies over time. How separate and progressive Schneider keeps Lee
Technologies will influence both the interview and recruiting process and
ultimately the qualities of the person they hire. A few consistent hires will
foster an understanding and interpretation of the new company at both
The same can be said for the recent acquisitions of the hosting companies
Terremark and Savvis by ‘old’ telecom companies, Verizon and CenturyLink,
respectively and Time Warner Cable’s purchase of Navisite. People at Savvis
remember that it acquired Fusepoint in Toronto along with other companies, so
now they’ve been on both sides of the acquisition fence.
Where is your company in its lifecycle and modulations of change? Knowing and
recognizing the answer to the question and portraying your situation correctly
will help you attract the right person to meet the needs and demands of your
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