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Brexit

Skills shortage and 5G fears at European data centres

150 150 Stuart O'Brien

Continuing unprecedented demand for new datacentres, fears around the shortage of skilled professionals, concerns about the future disruption of 5G, and the limited impact of Brexit are some of the key findings from the latest industry survey from Business Critical Solutions (BCS).

The Summer Report, now in its 10th year, is undertaken by independent research house IX Consulting, who capture the views of over 300 senior datacentre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users. It is commissioned by BCS, a specialist services provider to the digital infrastructure industry. 

The report highlights the rising demand for datacentres with almost two thirds of users exceeding 80% of their capacity today, 70% having increased capacity in the last six months and almost 60% planning increase capacity next year.

This demand is currently being driven by cloud computing with over three quarters of respondents identifying 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as disruptors for the future.

With industry predictions that edge computing will have 10 times the impact of cloud computing in the future, half of respondents believe it will be the biggest driver of new datacentres.

However, the survey found that the market remains confident that supply can be maintained, with over 90% of developers stating they have expanded their datacentre portfolio in the last six months.

With regards to supply, there are concerns that a shortage of sufficiently qualified professionals at the design and build stages will cause a bottle neck, with 64% of datacentre users and experts believing there is a lack of skilled design resource in the UK. AI and Machine Learning may help to mitigate these issues with nearly two thirds of respondents confident that datacentres will utilise these to simplify operations and drive efficiency.

The political uncertainty around Brexit continues to impact the sector with 78% of respondents believing that it will create an increase in demand for UK-based datacentres. However, the overall feeling was that the fundamentals underpinning the demand for datacentre space, such as the continued proliferation of technology-led services, outweighs these concerns and the European datacentre market will overcome any difficulties that occur.

Commenting on the report, James Hart, CEO at BCS, said: “As always this report makes for fascinating reading and I was encouraged by the overwhelming positive sentiment to forecast growth and the limited impact of Brexit. The fact that half of our respondents believe that edge computing will be the biggest driver of new datacentres tallies with our own convictions. We believe that the edge of the network will continue to be at the epicentre of innovation in the datacentre space and we are seeing a strong increase in the number of clients coming to us for help with the development of their edge strategy and rollouts.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

IT Skills Gap

Brexit threatens UK IT prosperity

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

UK organisations are suffering from a digital skills gap at every level and Brexit will further reduce Britain’s access to tech talent.

That’s according to a survey by graduate IT training and services provider Sparta Global, which polled leading technology professionals across a number of industries, including finance, media and tech. All professionals admitted their organisations are suffering skills gaps at all levels – graduate (38%), mid-level (55%) and management (39%).

Software development was identified by 52% of respondents as a missing skill, making it the most sought after area of expertise. This was followed by test automation skills (40%), DevOps (38%), BA/PMO (19%) and manual testing (16%).

“This survey demonstrates that while Britain has seen exponential growth in digital innovation, a shortage in digital skills still threatens to derail the UK’s position as a dominant force in IT,” said Sparta Global CEO David Rai. “A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce indicates the digital skills gap is costing the UK economy £63 billion annually in lost GDP. In a post-Brexit future, the skills gap will widen even further if access to talent outside the UK becomes harder to obtain.”

Almost half of the survey respondents claim Brexit has already reduced access to talent from outside the UK. One in four contractors with a non-UK passport admitted that the post-Brexit threat of a more restrictive immigration policy had influenced their decision to leave the UK.

Rai continued: “As we move towards the EU and possible restrictions on overseas talent, it is crucial to address the way UK tech talent is cultivated in Britain. To enable the UK’s digital economy to flourish and drive its own recovery, Government, businesses and educators need to work together to close the skills gap. Our survey highlights the need to take action in the way that we nurture UK technology talent and promote the industry as an exciting and fruitful career path for graduates.”