Steve Whatling, MD at Keysource, looks at the data challenges facing the financial sector and what lessons can be learnt from economic and political instability…
The financial sector has gone through phenomenal change over the past decade. If we go back 10 years to the mid 2000s, the banking sector was entirely different. It was all about growth, with some financial institutions putting together 25-year strategy plans confidently based on year-on-year growth.
The retail banking platforms were still relatively traditional with low adoption of electronic banking as many customers still visited the branch network to carry out transactions. The CIO/CTO was often not part of the senior team and the data centre was the responsibility of the real estate or property department.
Whilst banks have always been concerned with privacy and security issues at this time there was low confidence in the security of cloud provision so they retained total control of their operations. There was no real outsourcing model and, as a result, with the exception of one or two they decided to build and run their own data centres – and of course they could afford to! So they built huge facilities in anticipation of this predicted growth and invested heavily.
Ten years on things are very different. The industry’s promised growth predictions have proven to be incredibly flawed and recent years have seen the global system in crisis, with the UK government stepping in and rescuing some institutions.
At the same time we have seen a phenomenal uptake of electronic, online and mobile banking, which has created a greater emphasis on the importance of technology and data. It has also been used as an enabler to reduce headcount, creating much-needed savings.
As a result the CIO/CTO is now right at the heart of everything with the IT strategy fundamental to the business. The financial sector CIO/CTO has had to embrace outsourcing and consider cloud provision, but is now often responsible for the property and Facilities Management associated with IT too.
Looking forward it is unlikely that we will see any new data centres built in the UK for the financial sector for many years. The sector is quite simply overprovisioned after building huge, highly resilient Tier IV and secure facilities in the early to mid 2000s that even the increase in electronic banking is failing to fill. There has also been considerable consolidation in the sector which has further exacerbated the issue.
There are also some legacy facilities which are outdated and run inefficiently as unfortunately there hasn’t been enough investment available to upgrade in recent years.
What we are seeing today is institutions looking at their data centre facilities and trying to optimise the asset wherever possible by seeing how they can be more suitable for their current requirements and potentially commercially viable. This might involve selling, upgrading or subletting.
There are a number of additional challenges facing the sector. A key area is how to keep aligning the business to its fast-moving and ever-changing environment. There is no doubt that electronic banking will continue to grow and more IT investment will be required to meet the needs of the influential Millennial Generation.
Whilst we will continue to see significant growth within the electronic banking area, the real opportunities are in the emerging countries in Asia and Africa. Their systems are often years behind and the industry in some countries is really in its infancy. They will benefit greatly from the lessons learned by the West and our experience and expertise.
This article originally appeared on The Stack on the 6th October 2016. Continue reading it here
Following on from a highly success fully month of fundraising for charity, we are really proud to announce we have helped raise nearly £4,000 for different charities this month.
Members of the Keysource team have have run / slipped / crawled through mud and over obstacles, raced Dragon Boats, cycled from London to Brighton and even sold home produced Honey to help us reach this amazing amount.
Thank you to everyone who supported us!
You can find out more about the events and the charities here or enjoy some of the photos from the events below:
Integrated property services group, Styles&Wood Group plc, has advanced its successful diversification strategy with the acquisition of Keysource Limited – a provider of specialist technical services to the data centre and critical facilities sectors.
The acquisition will enable Styles&Wood to expand into the growing data centre services market and provide new opportunities to broaden work streams with both existing and new customers.
Based in Horsham, Sussex, and incorporated in 1998, Keysource specialises in delivering engineering and technology services for business critical environments. The Keysource executive management team, which will remain with the business, has over 50 years’ experience working with some of the world’s leading organisations across a diverse range of sectors, including finance and banking, education and industrial. Keysource will continue to operate under its existing brand and the deal has been designed to provide it with a stronger operational and financial platform to support its ambitious growth plans moving forward.
The acquisition is in line with Styles&Wood’s strategy to diversify its service offering across key sectors and enhances the Group’s capabilities in technologies and critical facilities.
Styles&Wood and Keysource have an established working relationship as delivery partners on a strategic framework for one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. The Group envisages being able to offer Keysource’s services to its other banking framework customers.
Mike West, CEO at Keysource, said:
“This is a truly exciting strategic move for Keysource. The business is in strong shape and coming under the Styles&Wood umbrella will provide the company and all of our employees with great opportunities for growth in the coming years. In the meantime, it is still very much ‘business as usual’ in terms of client servicing and continuing to build on the fantastic momentum and performance we have delivered this year.”
Tony Lenehan, Chief Executive Officer of Styles&Wood, said:
“The data centre market is a sector we have been looking to enter for some time and believe it has exciting growth prospects, driven by a combination of macro and regulatory factors. Provision of critical facilities to this market will continue to be crucial as it grows.
The acquisition follows our successful joint venture with Keysource on an ongoing major banking framework and we have been very impressed with the team’s expertise and project delivery capabilities. With the prevailing market trend for the expansion and improvement of existing facilities, we believe the combined strength of both businesses’ expertise in working in live environments will make a compelling proposition.
Styles&Wood has a proven successful diversification strategy which has been instrumental in supporting clients across a range of sectors. This acquisition further reinforces our strategic vision and will enable us to broaden our service offerings to existing and new customers and I am excited about the future opportunities for the Group as a whole.”
Headquartered in Sale, Greater Manchester, Styles&Wood provides a full range of integrated property and project delivery services to some of the UK’s premier brands and blue-chip organisations. Its integrated offer includes design, building intelligence systems, facilities solutions and fit-out and refurbishment services which provide clients with the opportunity to optimise the performance of their property assets.
According to the AMA Research Data Centre Construction Market Report published in March 2016 the market for data centres is forecast to reach over £1.1bn by the end of 2020, representing annual growth of 3 to 4%.
Today marks the start of Keysource’s charity month. Whilst we take part in charity events throughout the year, for the month of September the Keysource team will be running, rowing, climbing, baking and drinking lots of hot beverages to raise money for key charities across the country.
In order to raise as much money for these charities as possible we would be really grateful for all donations. You can find out more about the events and how you can support us below.
Kicking off our charity month our first event is The Nuts Challenge. To truly get into the swing of things we start with the hardest event – an assault course mud run. Teams can complete up to 4 laps of the course, covering a gruelling 28km!
Not strangers to dedication and hard work, the Keysource team have been training hard over the summer to get to grips with the vast amount of obstacles, mud pits, rope swings and water pits to give us the best chance of coming out on top!
Our fundraising for this event is going to St Catherine’s Hospice, a local charity that provides end of life care and support, helping people achieve the best quality of life they can.
Day two sees the Keysource team take to the water and compete against local groups and businesses in 40ft dragon boats. Battling for the Dragon Boat Festival Trophy (we’ve been so close over the years!) the Keysource team will be paying homage to David Hasselhoff and the upcoming remake with a Baywatch theme (pictures to follow!)
As with The Nuts Challenge all fundraising for this event will support St Catherine’s Hospice in West Sussex.
You can see the 2014 Keysource Hawaiian team in action below:
On the 11th September, Keysource will be joining Team DCA on the London to Brighton bike ride. Covering over 58 miles and raising to over 814 feet at its highest point, the Team are raising money on behalf of Bike 4 Cancer – a cancer respite charity, in memory of Simon Campbell-Whyte.
Rounding the month off slightly quieter than it started, Keysource will be holding a cake sale in our HQ. Previous events have been highly successful with some amazing creations and gravity defying cakes – it’s clear some of our engineers have been inspired by The Great British Bake Off!
At the beginning of this year we announced that we had evolved our strategy, in line with market needs, to a more consultative led approach. We’ve seen, as customer needs change, that a wholly owned on-premise solution may not be the best option, and that a hybrid solution of cloud, colocation and some on-premise may deliver better against technical and commercial needs.
We’ve been working hard this year delivering strategy and IT Asset advice for both public and private sector organisations across Europe with great success (watch this space for upcoming announcements!) and have launched a new company – Business Critical Solutions – to further support this offering.
But once your strategy is in place – how do you best implement it?
Whilst we have been historically known as the data centre design and build experts (and we have been recognised by leading award bodies across the globe for our projects) our Critical Facilities Management division is less well known. With over 30 critical engineering specialists (plus administration and helpdesk teams) supporting our 200+ contracts across Europe, our teams are constantly looking at new ways of supporting and optimising our customers facilities and operations.
With IT Asset consolidation or moves being required in some cases, expert support is needed to safely and securely transport your IT hardware. In order to further satisfy this need Keysource has recently taken delivery of a new set of bespoke Shock Mounted Portable Server Racks.
They have already had their first outing, transporting the Metropolitan Police Service servers and IT hardware from their old data centre operator across to their new one. Carried out under highly secure conditions and escorted throughout the process by two NPPV (Non Police Personnel Vetting) level 3 staff, the new portable racks ensured the move went as expected and integrity of the data was maintained throughout.