Mercury: expertise across the data centre life cycle

Mercury: expertise across the data centre life cycle

Mercury’s Alan Clinton, Operations Director, Data Centres and Building Services, on the company’s data centre offering and its COVID-19 response

Alan Clinton is the Operations Director for Data Centres and Building Services at construction firm Mercury, a company he first joined in 2007. He now leads a fast growing department providing for the ongoing data centre construction boom. “I lead the delivery of data centre and building services projects across Europe,” says Clinton. “That covers every aspect of our day-to-day operations, including people management, supply-chain management, client relationship management and more.” 

Having been founded in 1972, Mercury has developed a reputation as an experienced hand, and that’s no different for its offering in the mission critical sector. “Mercury is one of Europe’s most experienced hyperscale and enterprise data centre service providers,” says Clinton. “We provide highly complex engineering services to our clients, with very high levels of safety, quality, innovation and value engineering.” Mercury’s expertise covers the full data centre life cycle. “We look after every stage of the project, from design & build, planning and construction right through to commissioning, ongoing facilities management and ICT services.”

As data centres have proliferated, their impact on the planet in terms of energy has become apparent. It's with this in mind that Mercury has set concrete goals for its sustainability efforts. “At Mercury, we believe that it’s everyone’s duty to play their part to improve the quality of life on our planet,” says Clinton. “This year, we launched ‘Our Planet, Our Duty’, a 50-page document which sets out our sustainability plan. One of the most important goals we have set is to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emission intensity by 50% by 2030.”

As with all companies globally, Mercury has not been unaffected by COVID-19, but it has been successful in minimising disruption to clients. “We’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve been able to continue to work very successfully during the COVID-19 pandemic, with very little impact to our clients,” says Clinton. “Our main success has been without a doubt down to the efforts of our teams. The impact of COVID-19 on the ability of staff to travel has of course been a challenge, but because we have invested so much in technology and our digital transformation over the last several years, we have largely been able to continue without major impacts to our business.” The company’s digital capabilities have also been crucial, as Clinton explains: “We have been able to conduct quality audits, factory acceptance tests and more virtually. Our use of BIM, Virtual Realty, Mixed Realty and more have been of huge benefit to us. Our flexible supply chain and multinational staff have also helped us to continue working across all of our different geographic locations.”

Clinton credits the company’s culture as having been critical to its response to the pandemic. “Collaboration and communication are some of the most important things to us at Mercury. Whether it’s with our colleagues on site, our clients, our supply-chain partners or other Mercury staff across the globe, we all can learn from each other and benefit. During this pandemic it was even more important for us to make sure we're communicating with everybody - particularly our staff to ensure their mental health and wellbeing.” It’s thanks to that mindset that the business has been able to weather the storm and be stronger for it. “Obviously it was a challenging year, and circumstances continue to be challenging. But our clients and our supply chain and our team have all combined to help us to continue our business with very little impact. We really have great people working in this industry to keep things going in the ways they have.”

Being ready for that and other unprecedented events which have in recent times rocked the sector requires a strong partner network. “Having a robust global supply-chain is very important to us. We have supply-chain partners specialising in every aspect of our business strategically located across the globe. Particularly with concerns such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, it’s important that we are able to deliver to anywhere, from anywhere.”

The pandemic has, however, had the effect of accelerating pre-existing trends going forwards. “A major trend now that Mercury is looking more and more at is the delivery of data centres using modern methods of construction such as offsite manufacturing,” says Clinton. “There are major benefits to the client for delivering project elements offsite, such as cost and programme certainty, higher levels of safety, quality, efficiency, and reduced impact to the environment. Our focus on digital transformation over the last number of years is enabling us to deliver more this way - and obviously benefiting our clients.”

The company now stands ready to thrive as it heads into the future. “Last year, Mercury released our latest strategy, Beyond50, a five year plan that aims to take our company beyond its 50th anniversary next year. We are continuing to refine our service offering, playing to our strengths, while putting our clients’ changing needs at the heart of our innovation in how we deliver,” says Clinton. That strategy is as comprehensive and holistic as the company’s ambition. “Our strategy covers everything from further strategically developing our service and market offering to continuously ensuring that we remain leaders in safety, people, digital transformation, the use of offsite manufacturing, quality, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, while continuing to develop our winning culture.”


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