Prior to COVID-19, the world was continuing a massive business transformation, illustrated by the rapid innovation of mega-scale internet businesses like Amazon Prime, Twitter, Uber, Netflix, Xbox and others that are now integral parts of our lives and exemplify the new global digital economy.
The ability to apply artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), speech recognition, location services, and identity tracking in real-time enabled new applications and services once thought to be beyond the reach of computing technology.
Required for this transformation are exponential increases in digitized data and the ability to upscale on-demand enormous computing capacity. Since 2016, digitization has created 90% of the world’s data. According to IDC, more than 50 zettabytes (ZB) of data are going to be created and consumed globally in 2020 and this is predicted to grow to 175 ZB by 2025. (FYI 1 ZB is equivalent to 1 trillion gigabytes.)
COVID-19 is accelerating data growth, particularly in 2020 and 2021, due to abrupt increases in work from home employees, a changing mix of richer data sets, and a continued surge in video-based content consumption.
For the enterprise, an unforeseen byproduct is an even greater urgency for agility, adaptability and transformation. Business models are being disrupted while the digitalization of the economy is accelerating as new technologies and services are serving a newly remote workforce.
The competitive landscape across all market sectors is changing. Now more than ever business is looking to technology to be agile in the face of disruption and create new digitally enabled business models for the post-COVID-19 “new normal.”
It will require new capabilities and expertise in thousands of behind the scenes data centers and networks that provide the digital infrastructure powering critical applications and services that keep the economy afloat and all of us connected. The “cloud” lives in data centers and data centers are the commerce platforms of the 21st century.
Data centers are essential; the best ones are innovating
At the outset of COVID-19, data centers were designated “essential” since virtually all industries and consumers depend on them. The urgency for remote access, management and configuration of data centers became even more important in the wake of the pandemic.
QTS Realty Trust is a leader in providing these remote services and much more. Supporting its commitment to digitize its entire end-to-end systems and processes, QTS is the first and only multi-tenant data center operator with a sophisticated software-defined orchestration platform powered by AI, ML, predictive analytics (PA) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.
QTS’ API-driven Service Delivery Platform (SDP) empowers customers to interact with their data, services, and connectivity ecosystem by providing real-time visibility, access and dynamic control over critical metrics across hybrid IT environments from a single platform and/or mobile device. This enables customers to benefit from new business innovations and operational savings critical to their IT investment.
SDP applications leverage next-generation AI, ML and PA to accurately forecast power consumption, automate the provisioning of services and perform online ordering and asset management. VR technologies enable new virtual collaboration tools and a 3D visualization application that renders an exact replication of a customer’s IT environment in real-time.
QTS’ SDP was recently profiled in a Raymond James Industry Brief: Data Maps and Killer Apps (released June 2020) that surveyed the platforms of three global data center operators:
“While all three platforms have the ability to track and report common data, the ease of use of the systems was quite different. Only QTS had the entire system wrapped up into an app that was available across multiple desktops, tablets, and mobile platforms, complete with 3D imaging and simple graphics that outlined the situation visually down to an individual rack within a cabinet. QTS’ system also has video capability using facial recognition to detect and identify employees and contractors separately, highlight an open cabinet door and other potential hazards inside the customers' cage, and it is all either real-time or on a recorded basis to highlight potential errors and problems. Live heat maps allow customers to see the areas with potential and existing performance issues and to see outages in real-time and track down problems. As far as features and functionality, the QTS SDP system was the clear winner.”
Customer experience is the dealmaker
As consumers become more adamant in their demand for quality of experience in their digital lives, businesses must ensure they are providing data and services that are personalized, real-time, on-the-go, and available via any network.
Post-COVID-19, the ability of data centers to ensure excellent customer experience will play an even greater role as large numbers of customers continue to work remotely with less on-premises interaction. Enterprises will seek data center operators that can ensure secure, ubiquitous, real-time access to services and data backed by superior customer support.
Given a purchasing decision based on performance and price between two equally qualified data center operators, the first tiebreaker is increasingly coming down to proven and documented customer support.
In the data center industry, QTS is the undisputed leader in customer service and support boasting an independent Net Promoter Score of 88 — more than double the average NPS score for other data center companies.
Customers rated QTS highly in a range of service areas, including its customer service, service delivery platform, physical facilities, processes, responsiveness and service of onsite staff and the 24-hour Operations Service Center. QTS’ score is its highest yet and exceeds NPS scores of companies well-known for its customer service including Starbucks (71) and Apple (72).
Innovation and customer support lead post-COVID-19
Enterprise and government organizations recognize that the post-COVID-19 landscape is going to present an increasing need for IT innovation. In terms of IT service delivery, this means remote data center access and management, higher levels of transparency, visibility, compliance and sustainability that are at the foundation of QTS’ Service Delivery Platform.
With innovation come new technologies and complexity raising the profile of the best service and support partners for companies looking to re-establish themselves in a new post-COVID competitive landscape.