Data centre M&A spending soars past $10bn in 2017, with more to come
The red hot data centre market shows no signs of cooling down, with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) spending set for a record year having already broken through the $10bn barrier.
The first six months of 2017 saw a number of multi-billion dollar deals in the data centre market, with Digital Realty’s $7.6bn acquisition of DuPont Fabros leading the way in terms of value, according to a new report by JLL Research.
While 2016 was considered a strong year for M&A activity, the $2bn invested has already been blown out of the water, with yet more expected to come in 2017.
This M&A activity comes at a time when the industry is headed towards larger, more efficient facilities which offer comprehensive and flexible product to users looking for a consistent global vendor.
The report found that advanced facilities are offering: bigger buildings and rooms providing flexibility for users; cutting edge technologies in cooling and energy efficiency; and larger selection of services and amenities, catering to enterprises
“M&A in H1 2017 also continued to highlight data centre firms’ aim to differentiate their offerings and services from competitors,” said JLL.
“Digital Realty is acquiring DuPont Fabros to expand their geographic service area. Manny Medina formed Cyxtera Technologies to capture security minded users. Both, prime examples of the providers becoming creative in the face of rising competition.”
The second half of the year is expected to be “just as vibrant”, with consolidation the name of the game in the data centre industry.
“Expect large scale providers to continue on acquisition sprees as they look to broaden services they offer, enter new markets and move toward offering comprehensive, yet specialised products,” said JLL.
“Tenured large scale providers will move toward capacity plays, expanding their footprints through real estate based purchases. Also expect to see inspired M&As in the coming months driven by companies looking to compete (on a smaller scale) with AWS and Azure via acquisitions.”
In numbers – 2017’s biggest deals so far
Digital Realty acquires DuPont Fabros
Cyxtera Technologies formed via BC Partners, Medina Capital, and CenturyLink assets
Peak 10 acquires ViaWest
Digital Bridge acquires Vantage
Harnessing APIs to unlock and operationalise your data
Data is the fuel that powers modern businesses. It’s widely accepted that unlocking insight from data is key to driving successful digital transformation and competitive advantage. Yet the gap between understanding the importance of data-driven insight and being able to achieve it remains stubbornly wide, as critical information remains locked away in silos. To overcome these challenges, businesses must try a new approach. API-led connectivity offers a reusable, standardised way to integrate data across multiple platforms, systems, and applications. When done right, it can be the fast-track to IT and business teams productivity, innovation, and growth.
A data explosion
The past decade has seen a data explosion. Analyst firm IDC predicted that over 59 zettabytes (ZBs) of data would be “created, captured, copied, and consumed” in the world last year alone. In the next three years it’s predicted to continue growing at a CAGR of 26%, during which time more data will have been created than during the past 30 years. At the top of any CIO or business leader’s wish-list is the ability to extract insight from these vast troves of information in order to make more effective decisions. According to McKinsey, data-driven companies are 1.5 times more likely to report revenue growth of greater than 10%.
Unfortunately, just like much of the population for much of the last 12 months, data is locked down and isolated. MuleSoft’s 2021 Connectivity Benchmark report reveals that data silos and existing IT infrastructure are making it difficult for most firms to integrate new technologies and make changes to IT systems and applications. In fact, currently less than third of enterprise applications on average are integrated, so there is still significant room for improvement. Those organisations that are able to connect the dots between their data stand to realise increased customer engagement, business transformation and innovation benefits.
Journey towards API-led integration
Legacy custom code point-to-point integration may have been fine a decade ago when enterprises ran relatively few applications. But today’s businesses need something altogether more agile. Point-to-point can be expensive and complex, which means IT ends up spending too much of its time on maintenance and not enough on innovation.
This is where APIs come in, offering a more seamless and cost-effective way to drive integration through discoverability, self-service, and reuse. Rather than building the same point-to-point integration for use in 10 different projects, which requires each to be maintained individually as unique sets of code, a single API can be developed to be reused across them all. An API-led approach therefore means companies only have to unlock each data set just once to empower business teams across the organisation to use that data in their own projects.
The value of this approach can be extended even further with today’s low-code tools, which support drag-and-drop integrations. This can help to ease the burden on IT teams and empower business users to deliver their own integration projects.
The LendingTree experience
One company that has driven major improvements through reusable APIs is online loans marketplace LendingTree. Originally its 16 different business units were operating with siloed, incomplete data, meaning 360-degree customer insight was impossible—affecting sales and the end-user experience. The firm was not able to capture or analyse call centre data, limiting its ability to improve experiences for its customers.
Using APIs to draw in data from multiple systems and databases in real-time, LendingTree was able to consolidate its customer data on Salesforce to create a single source of truth for cross-departmental teams. This approach empowers service agents by giving them access to individuals’ loan application history from a single console, drastically reducing the time it takes them to consolidate various sources of customer data. As such, its API-led integration approach has allowed LendingTree to free up time and resources to launch new capabilities faster.
The future’s digital
Organisations have been affected in many different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. But across the board, the desire among business leaders over the coming months will be to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever. Data-driven insight will be vital to this achievement, as businesses push ahead with digital innovation. API-led integration can help them to ensure that data strategies are long-lasting and sustainable, paving the way for long-term success and a brighter digital future.