JCA: dynamic data centre engineering
JCA offers trusted world class engineering services to the data centre sector. Working across the design, construction, operation and maintenance of mission critical facilities for 17 years, JCA takes a holistic view with a pragmatic approach to the benefits and pitfalls of resilient engineering strategies.
“When working with clients like Ark, we appreciate what drives their business and understand their key business goals,” confirms JCA’s Managing Director Tom Absalom. “Engineering expertise we hold can be applied to support our partners’ business plans and market offering. In recent years, we've made great strides in terms of reduced CapEx and OpEx, albeit with increased availability and enhanced environmental credentials.”
Keeping pace with the evolutionary cycle of incremental gains, JCA ensures the products it develops and deploys are enhanced over those that have gone before. “That can only happen when you work with organisations with shared goals and strategies for the entire supply chain,” says Absalom. “We make sure everyone is aligned towards a single aim. During our time working with Ark we’ve progressed through some revolutionary concept designs which have trickled down into the world-class products you see them operating today.”
“Ark’s commitment to sustainability creates an aspiration for JCA to deliver,” maintains the company’s Chairman and Founder Ian Jackson. “It’s the perfect partnership for us to showcase our desire and commitment to invest in the lifecycle of a building asset through the implementation of new digital building technologies. Equally, we’re investigating and testing new disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence to improve waste management controls and also provide the strategic direction to leverage real-time information from other construction sites throughout the country.
“We’re fortunate to have customers that share our values and appreciate the advantage collaborative partnerships can bring on a long-term basis. At JCA continuous improvement is key as we strive to enhance our consistency and processes.”
Looking to the future
“We’ve been fortunate to navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic and remain able to focus on our core business objectives,” says Jackson. “Our objectives for 2021 and beyond are simple and smart. We’re well positioned to meet our goals. We’ll focus on four key areas: our people, our financial position, our customers, and our processes and controls. With over 80% of our targeted work budgeted and secured already for this year, we’re able to ensure the safety and prosperity of our staff while pushing ahead to deliver for our customers.”
“JCA, along with Gratte Brothers, are our preferred mechanical and electrical engineering partners helping us develop improved energy centre solutions. We were also keen to modularise this process so our partners came up with a unique solution which not only utilises the data center cooling to cool the energy center, but also allows Ark to build the energy center off site - improving health and safety while reducing material waste and cost. Though competitors in the market, JCA and Gratte Brothers are both owner-managed businesses that integrate well with Ark. They’re really adaptable and always looking to innovate. When we need to ensure speed to market, and in times of crisis like we’ve experienced during the pandemic, we rely on these partnerships to deliver safely to our customers.”
Andy Garvin, Director of Design, Construction & Operations, Ark Data Centres.
5 Minutes With PwC's Amanda Line on Digital Leadership
1. Define digital leadership, and what it means to be a digital leader?
Leadership has always required a specialised set of skills, such as curiosity, empathy, and decisive action. In today’s world, there is an urgent need for a new type of leader – one who has a digital mindset and has the skills to drive transformation. With the ever-expanding spectrum of new technologies, we need a new wave of digital leaders who not only understand the application of intelligent technologies in the workplace, but also know how to enable and empower their teams - and that comes from frequent upskilling. Digital leaders are represented across numerous sectors and industries, with a common goal to drive a culture of innovation and transformation.
2. What do you believe are the essential traits of a digital leader?
Knowledge of digital and data literacy is a given essential to have a strong command of the future economy. In my opinion, what’s even more important are human-centric skills. It is the soft skills such as communication, resilience, emotional intelligence, and entrepreneurial thinking that are pivotal in this new-age digital world.
Despite the demand for future skillsets, we’re currently facing the biggest skills shortage of our lifetime. PwC’s Middle East CEO survey highlighted that 80% of CEOs believe that a shortage of skills in the workforce is one of the key threats to their organisation’s growth prospects.
Part of our drive at PwC’s Academy Middle East in leading the upskilling revolution in the region is to facilitate lasting change. We deliver innovative and practical training, that includes both digital and soft skills components, for individuals and organisations across industries to create a truly future-ready workforce in the Middle East.
3. How have these traits changed since the outbreak of COVID-19, or have they remained the same but their significance has grown?
Prior to the pandemic, the World Economic Forum set an ambitious target to upskill one billion people by 2030. This was initiated to tackle the 75 million jobs expected to be displaced by automation and AI by 2022. Since Covid-19, the window of opportunity to reskill has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market.
The way we live, work and learn has changed drastically, placing digital technologies at the forefront. The pace of change has accelerated the need for upskilling and reskilling. In many organisations and economies, this crisis has highlighted the discrepancy between the skills people have and those needed for jobs in the digital world.
4. What was the role of a digital leader when the initial outbreak happened?
The need for digital leadership was brought to the forefront by the pandemic. With the huge transition to work from home (WFH), strong leadership has helped guide and steady employees, and ensure continued productivity. Leaders who understand the application of technologies in the workplace have been able to create new drivers for success, including streamlining operational systems, mindful connection of their employees and improved agility in the workplace.
5. How has that role evolved and what are the next steps for digital leaders going forward in 2021 and beyond?
Eighty-four percent of employers are set to rapidly digitalise working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work—with the potential to move 44% of their workforce to operate remotely. This is a very significant change towards a digital future. Technology is moving at a rapid pace, and having digital skills is no longer a ‘good to have’, it is critical to business success. Leaders and employees alike must adapt to a cycle of constant learning and upskilling to remain competitive.
6. How do these roles mentioned compare to pre-COVID?
Digital leaders were in demand before the pandemic, but now there is an additional urgency for a pipeline of talent with the skills to implement new technologies in the workplace. In order to create sustainable success, digital technologies must be adopted as a core business strategy – and upskilling is key. In 2020, PwC’s Academy introduced a number of qualifications in the region to support training for the digital economy, including the region’s first qualification for AI, the Certified Artificial Intelligence Practitioner (CAIP).
7. Whilst the initial strategy for digital leaders was to survive the outbreak, what is the strategy for digital leaders as they look to thrive going forward?
We will see more sophisticated technologies being integrated into the workplace, driven by digital leaders. To support these transformations, we will need to close the existing skills gap, and ensure that younger generations are prepared for the future workplace.
Young professionals will need huge investment in education and skills development. This requires a collaborative effort from governments, private organisations and education providers. In the Middle East for example, PwC’s Academy is working with the regional governments to upskill the national talent for future leadership roles. We also work with the private and public sector for upskilling solutions in finance, tax, HR, marketing, leadership and management, graduate development, digital transformation to name a few. It is this multi
faceted approach to upskilling that will help our region to thrive.