The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Digital Economy

Post-Pandemic IT Landscape Demands a New Data Center Paradigm

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QTS

Prior to COVID-19, the world was undergoing massive business transformation illustrated by stunning success of mega-scale Internet businesses such as Amazon Prime, Twitter, Uber, Netflix, Xbox and others that are now an integral part of our lives and exemplify the new global digital economy.

The ability to apply artificial intelligence (AL), machine learning (ML), speech recognition, location services, speed and identity tracking in real-time enabled new applications and services once thought to be beyond the reach of computing technology.

Fueling this transformation are exponential increases in digitized data and the ability to apply enormous compute and storage capacity to it. Since 2016, digitization has created 90% of the world’s data. According to IDC, more than 59 zettabytes (ZB) of data are going to be created and consumed globally in 2020 and this is forecast to grow to 175 ZB by 2025. How much is 1 ZB you ask?  It is equivalent to a trillion gigabytes. Or, 100 million HD movies worth of data.

As it turns out, according to IDC, instead of hindering growth, 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 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 serve a reshaped 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 “new normal.”

That will require new capabilities and expertise in thousands of data centers and networks behind the scenes. That infrastructure provides the digital infrastructure that powers the critical applications and services keeping 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 the pandemic, data centers were designated “essential businesses” since virtually all industries and consumers depend on them. The more advanced data centers were quickly recognized for their ability to provide customers with remote access and management of their systems without operators or enterprise customers having to be there physically.

QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS) is at the forefront of providing these services to all their customers. 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 of critical metrics across hybrid and hyperscale environments from a single platform and/or mobile device. It is akin to it having a software company within the data center delivering operational savings and business innovation which are central to every IT investment.

SDP applications leverage next-generation AI, ML and PA to accurately forecast power consumption, automate the service provisioning, perform online ordering and asset management. VR technologies are enabling 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 profiled in the 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 desktop, tablet, 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, 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 services, and the data that is generated from them, real-time, on-the-go, via any network, and are personalized.

Post COVID, 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 data center companies (42).

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 of 88 is its highest yet and exceeds NPS scores of companies well-known for their customer service including Starbucks (71) and Apple (72).

Enterprise, Hyperscale and government organizations recognize that the post-COVID landscape is going to present an increasing need for innovation in their IT environments. In terms of IT service delivery, this means 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.

For more information, visit www.qtsdatacenters.com

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.