Digital Transformation Action Items for Data Centers

June 9th, 2023 by · Leave a Comment

This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Ken Parent, CEO, Element Critical

Having become a popular buzzword, digital transformation is really the process of implementing emerging digital technologies to modify a company’s essential operations, processes, and services that provide new ways to deliver value, ease workloads, and withstand future challenges. According to a recent Data Center Services Market report, the top five drivers of demand for data centers are remote work, digitization, digital technologies, Over-the-top (OTT) services, and the Internet of Things (IoT). All five have been key drivers of digital transformation, as well.

In the data center industry, digital transformation can be achieved in many ways such as implementing new software products to automate facility systems, adding data-gathering sensors, and transforming metrics into actionable insights.

Here are three key executable action items to help data centers with their own digital transformation:

Upgrade Existing Data Center Operations

Shortages of available power and increasingly high demand for land continue to hamper new construction within the data center industry. One way data center operators can circumvent those issues, serve more customers, and implement digital transformation is by modernizing existing data center space. Upgrading a data center’s design and adding more highly efficient equipment and processes will make a measurable impact on operational efficiency and allow increased collaboration.

With updated automation systems, teams can work together, view data from their varying locations, and make actionable changes to formerly manual processes. This said, pumps can be swapped for water systems, the water temperature can be controlled via software, and alarm thresholds can be set for sensor notification. Such upgrades improve the operability of the data center and help to increase customer satisfaction with easier-to-use services while making the facility more sustainable.

Utilize Automation and Increase Agility

Increased business digitization has ushered in a new era of digital transformation for businesses of all kinds. Improved efficiency coupled with faster turnaround times and reduced costs can result from automating formerly manual processes through digital transformation. For example, digitizing processes allows for new equipment to optimize better resource utilization and waste reduction. For the data center industry, adding advanced technology and data tracking can provide insights into what’s needed for a particular customer in a specific suite of the data center, such as water or power resources, even predicting usage. In every case where resources are better utilized, sustainability improves.

Responding more rapidly to changing market conditions and customer demands is another facet of how digital transformation enables companies to increase their agility. Companies that use data analytics and other digital tools to gather insights on their customers’ needs and preferences can develop new products and services with faster responsiveness.

Leverage AI Capabilities

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of digital transformation, relying on data centers to power the heartbeat of any IT strategy that employs AI. Leveraging AI technology allows CIOs to generate new customer insights, save money, and predict customer behavior. A robust data center platform is required to support AI’s coverage, capacity, and connectivity requirements. Data center companies can incorporate AI themselves to improve reliability and energy efficiency while decreasing operating costs, and operators can implement AI for added security measures, such as facial recognition to identify badge holders. By investing in AI technology, data center providers can help reduce operational time, provide greater business insight, and personalize customer experiences, just like their customers.

AI-enabled hardware and software investments are expected to surge as industry experts better understand how to reap their value and digitally transform their data center environments to support the demands of artificial intelligence. AI trends will continue to grow within the data center industry and beyond, and it’s vital to be prepared – not only for the current landscape but also for what’s to come as data utilization and technologies continue to evolve. Data center providers, owners, and others in the industry should focus on investing in technology, systems, and processes that can help streamline operations to manage the digital flood.

How Digital Transformation Strategies Can Benefit the Data Center Industry

Data center operators can implement digital transformation strategies that can help enhance customer experiences, empower employees, leverage automation, and increase sustainability and agility, all while improving operations.

Data centers and colocation services are designed specifically to provide proper backup, data redundancy, and high Service Level Agreement (SLA) uptime reliability; and should be consistently updated to make sure progressively advancing data needs are met. Data center operators must keep pace with digital transformation trends to remain competitive and meet the evolving needs of customers’ IT strategies and future innovation.

The amount of data we are generating is increasing, and according to AFCOM’s latest State of the Data Center report, both on- and off-prem total data storage capacity is reported at 1PB or more. Rack density also continues to evolve. Last year, the typical respondent reported an estimated mean rack density of 7kW in their primary data centers and in 2023, that number jumped to 8.5kW per rack.


While data volumes continue to rise via varying sources including cloud environments, IoT devices, edge systems, and data centers, reputable colocation providers will keep up with trends, such as digitally transforming, to provide increased scalability, improve consistency, lower costs, save time, and boost productivity. By embracing and implementing new digital technology, processes, and even hiring new talent to focus on operational improvements and longevity, data centers will stay competitive and be equipped to better serve the unique and ever-expanding needs coming down the pipeline for their customers.


Ken Parent is CEO of Element Critical, one of the fastest-growing data center service providers in the United States. He brings 30 years of executive leadership experience including significant successes rapidly developing and scaling highly respected companies. Prior to Element Critical, Ken founded and served as CEO at ByteGrid, a national platform of Tier 3+ data centers in the U.S. During his tenure at ByteGrid, he led the management team in acquiring five data centers with over 800,000 SF of mission-critical space and 500 customers. Ken also led the successful strategic acquisitions of Annapolis-based Sidus BioData (a leading provider of compliant hosting solutions for FDA and HIPAA-HITECH regulated companies), and NetRiver, (a Seattle-based managed services provider) to diversify the ByteGrid portfolio and business.

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Categories: Artificial Intelligence · Datacenter · Industry Viewpoint

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