The Importance of Possibility by Huw Owen, 14th August 2020

As any CEO will tell you, one of the most important relationships you will ever develop, is the one with ‘Change’. It attends every meeting, is present on every agenda, informs every decision and is unwavering in its commitment to keep you on your toes.  Or in the case of March this year, with but a faint whiff of a warning shot, demands that you walk the walk that you have so often talked.

Part of the role of the Data Centre Industry is to ‘prepare for the worst’ and it’s fair to say, these last few months have been remarkably effective in keeping us honest while at the same time illustrating the significant value our Industry can deliver.  From the moment lockdown was announced, Ark ensured that the systems of thousands of businesses could continue to run 24×7 with zero disruption. We empowered people the world-over to work from anywhere, anytime and could now serve to help shape the way many organisations choose to operate moving forward – and I’m immensely proud of that achievement.

It may sound blindingly obvious but although Ark has always championed the protection and enablement of businesses, there is nothing like a world-changing event, to test the mettle of that promise, both to ourselves and to the clients we serve.  I’ve often said that an exceptional team, requires the right people, with the right skills, doing the right things, in the right way with the right mindset. At Ark we pride ourselves on an extremely disciplined approach to safeguarding our client assets and constantly test and challenge ourselves in this regard. The Pandemic can be aptly categorised as an ‘exceptional challenge’ and it was therefore enthusiastically embraced as a way to once again truly test ourselves.

We came together as a Team and made a simple commitment to one another – to do everything in our power to robustly live our Ark values and our duty to our clients and enable us all as soon as possible to come together, celebrate and look back with real pride.

With that commitment made and that mindset front and centre we rapidly instigated well drilled plans and quickly hit a steady and effective ‘battle rhythm’. I elected to furlough no member of the Ark team despite many people’s daily roles being naturally far quieter – that was my commitment to the Team – what did we witness? Simple, those same individuals going above and beyond, leaning hard in to help others in our business who were under immense pressure to ensure that our clients were taken care of, it really was something to behold. The weekly ‘All Hands’ calls (a mix of information exchange, training, external speakers etc) were vibrant, high energy affairs and a delight to be part of.

It told me everything I need to know about our team and everything that we represent to the organisations who choose Ark – This Team really cares – It’s that simple. Six years ago, I knew that I wanted Ark to be the most dependable Data Centre in the UK but I also never wanted to make a big song and dance about it – it is not what clients like ours either want nor expect. I simply wanted the merits of what we deliver to speak for themselves and our team have done exactly that and I am immensely proud of what they have achieved.

Another huge point of pride is that at a time when the UK economy has taken an enormous hit, we’ve been able to make a real contribution by continuing our significant investment in the UK’s world-class engineering, technology and construction. 98% of our hundreds of millions of pounds of investment goes into the UK supply chain – right where it is needed and thereby keeping those companies and their people’s jobs secure.

And therein lies the benefit of reserving a place at the table for change. In my time at Ark, we have endured two general elections, Brexit, a devastating Pandemic and each time, our team has embraced it as an opportunity to test and prove themselves, further our economy, and directly benefit our partners and clients.  This posture and mindset mean’s that there is constant planning, training, testing and importantly improving and learning.  If that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Given what we have become, we’re at a stage today, where we are capable of really assisting numerous organisations, not only to get back to business but to thrive in what are unrelenting and challenging conditions. And that’s precisely what we want to do for those who are still looking for a path forward.  I do understand that speaking about how Ark has flourished under extraordinary circumstances, may not connect positively with the businesses who have struggled; but ultimately, it’s not just about Ark, my greatest sense of pride comes from keeping our promise to the thousands of people and businesses who have placed their trust in us.

Rest assured, ‘Change’ will continue to have its place at the Ark table and will, welcomed guest or not, sit with you too. If your business needs to compete in a Digital world – and it likely does – you’ll be all too familiar with the challenges internal infrastructure can represent and I encourage you to come and talk to us to see how we can help – our aim is simple – to aide you set an even bigger place at your table for ‘Possibility’…

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