As a population, our consumption of data shows no signs of slowing down. Over the next decade, as the Internet of Things expands ever further and connected devices and data become as important as electricity, data center uptime is set to become a top priority across the globe.
In fact, even today, ensuring the uptime of mission-critical operations is more important than ever with data center downtime costing around $8,000 per minute, according to an in-depth study by the Emerson Network Power and the Ponemon Institute.
Recognising this, T5 Data Centers has distinguished itself from its competitors and made a name for itself for being ‘forever on’, as its slogan promises.
With a record of 100% uptime, the data center company’s impressive standing can be traced back to the company’s Facilities Management and Operations division, T5 Facilities Management (T5FM), which offers on-site data center facilities management, remote and smart hands, and staff augmentation services to data center owners across North America.
T5FM not only operates T5 Data Center’s state-of-the-art portfolio of wholesale and colocation data centers, it also operates data centers for a spectrum of Fortune 500 companies in sectors spanning from finance and technology to aerospace and energy.
“In the data center space, having no outages is key and uptime and safety are paramount,” says Mike Casey, President at T5FM. “I think our four core values are just one element that distinguishes us from our competitors as a successful data center facility management company.”
Built on the so-called ‘Four Pillars of T5FM,’ the company’s unique operating methodology has been one of the key accelerators of T5FM’s success.
These core values - safety, training, process and procedure, and customer communication - offer an operational foundation that mitigates risk, maximizes uptime and meets financial targets.
It is also an ethos which Casey has strived to uphold throughout his leadership.
Ensuring the safety of the personnel, facilities, and equipment is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles facing data center operators today. Therefore, T5FM has strived to create a proprietary electrical safety program and policy which is based on NFPA 70E guidelines.
“Safety is, of course, one of the most important values at the company and it really starts with making it a part of the culture,” Casey explains. “Whether we have a board meeting or an onsite customer meeting, the first item on the agenda is always safety. We've created a culture that empowers all the team members to identify any safety risks and influence or change our safety policy across the portfolio.”
Casey and his team also provide a customized, site-specific training program that includes portfolio training classes and ongoing online testing. The program also includes a deep and comprehensive study of mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems. This in-depth and rigorous training ensures that T5FM uphold only the best operational practices in the data center space.
“There's a sense of pride and a sense of ownership for those who complete the training program,” says Casey. “However, it doesn’t stop there. The company also has a continuous improvement training program which causes the team to continually learn about new pieces of equipment or new issues and agendas.”
The US-based company also strives to drive efficiencies across its far-reaching processes and procedures. To this end, Casey and his team uphold consistent, robust and vetted portfolio policies which set the baseline for developing site-specific procedures and documentation. This strategy begins with the company’s meticulous, in-depth playbook that collates years of experience and hands-on data center practices for the company’s employees.
White glove approach to customer service
The company’s final operational pillar highlights T5FM’s commitment to customer service. This is an integral element of day-to-day operations which has helped the company cut through the noise to become a leading provider of data center facility management.
“I think some of the things that really separate us from our competition is our approach to customer service,” observes Casey. “We have a white glove approach to customer service. That means there’s a higher level of communication and more customized reporting. It also means that the people we hire, our onsite team, are not only technically proficient, but they have the necessary communication skills to connect with our customers.”
T5FM has, by all accounts, forged a unique position in the data center landscape. As one of the few remaining companies specializing in mission critical, T5FM prides itself on being 100% data center focused. It doesn’t operate non-mission critical facilities and in doing so, it has allowed the company to hire people who have a mission critical mindset and who are passionate and driven about the data center landscape.
Furthermore, thanks to its real-world experience operating T5 Data Centers’ national data center portfolio, Casey and his team also champion a unique owner perspective which allows the company to truly understand the needs and wants of its clients.
It is because of this highly-focused and concerted approach that T5FM has been able to grow retain a talented workforce with a broad range of expertise.
“Over 86% of our site leads have been promotions from within,” notes Casey. “This is because our team members have a mission critical mindset and are passionate about the data center space. They see a growing company. They see room for career advancement and are encouraged by our entrepreneurial culture, a culture where anybody at any level within the organization can make an impact on the overall portfolio. We are the employer of choice in the data center space and this means means have very high retention rates, a highly motivated workforce, and the best team in the industry. At the end of the day, it’s our customers who benefit from of this.”
Uptime Institute award winner
Championing a positive work culture is an admirable feat, but T5FM has also provided the results to back it up. By receiving countless awards from the prestigious Uptime Institute, T5FM has consistently proven its position as a market leader.
Over the past several years, T5FM has consistently achieved the Continuous Availability Award from the Uptime Institute and, in December 2017, Casey also received the Operations Pace Setter Leadership award for his team’s work in the data center space.
“Although it’s an individual award, in reality it's a testament to the entire team,” says Casey. “The main reason that we received this award is because we achieved Management and Operations (M&O) stamp of approval from the Uptime Institute across the T5 portfolio last year. We were able to achieve this in a compressed three-month timeframe. We passed with some of the highest scores that Uptime has ever issued. This is a big differentiator for us. It shows our customers and our prospects our commitment to operational excellence that has been validated by a third-party expert.”
With an array of accolades under its belt and a reputation for operational excellence, T5FM has made a name for itself in the data center space and the road ahead continues to look bright. The company aims to grow where it already has a strong market presence, in regions such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, LA and Charlotte, and it is also looking further afield for international opportunities, recently announcing a new campus in Ireland.
As consumption of data gathers momentum, data center facility management is set to grow on an exponential scale and it seems that, thanks to its proven model for success, T5FM is well prepared to tap into this growing demand.
“Overall, I think we have great brand recognition and we have a great reputation in the market,” Casey says. “We've got an amazing team behind us and fantastic, loyal customers who have experienced first-hand, the T5 difference. Given our proven success I think the sky is the limit for T5 in the years to come.”