Equinix opens flagship data centre in Frankfurt
American multinational connectivity expert, Equinix, has announced the expansion of its presence in Frankfurt by opening a new state-of-the-art flagship data centre, known as FR6.
The new International Business Exchange data centre, located at Campus Kleyer, offers low-latency connectivity to Europe and international markets, and is designed to meet the needs of data-intensive applications like electronic trading, data analytics, and various IoT scenarios.
Modern organisations are working to transform the way they create value in a digital world that is constantly evolving. They can extend network infrastructure and enhance workload performance by shortening the distance between digital services and end-users; by providing increased capacity in Frankfurt, Equinix provides an advancement in the digital economy during its interconnected era, serving businesses which are demanding increasing levels of interconnection.
Eric Schwartz, President, Equinix EMEA, said: "Businesses are increasingly interdependent and cloud-enabled, and they depend on social, mobile, cloud, IoT and analytics to compete. The old way of doing business is diminishing and future success depends on interconnection. We also see companies putting infrastructure in more markets around the world to optimize performance at the digital edge. The new FR6 data center gives businesses another option for direct and secure connectivity in this key international market, as IT becomes more distributed."
Frankfurt is among Europe’s leading financial centres as a hub for banking, commerce, and manufacturing, making it an ideal setting for FR6. Campus Kleyer is one of the most carrier-dense digital locations in Europe and among the most network-rich Equinix locations.
German businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to align their IT infrastructure closer to the digital edge. Market research business GfK, for example, is undergoing an IT transformation and selected Frankfurt as its IT hub for the region. All of its data for the EMEA region will run using Equinix IBX data centres by 2018.
Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, said: "As a significant part of IT infrastructure, data centers are a prerequisite for the digitalization, indispensable for the processing of the ever growing data traffic and for operating the growing number of interconnected devices in industrial production and services. The Frankfurt region is an excellent location for this sector, whose power consumption already exceeds that of the Frankfurt airport, Germany's biggest employer. I am delighted that Equinix, a global leader in its field is opening its seventh data center and I am equally delighted that Germany's data centers are among the most energy efficient data centers in the world."
Burkhard Kehrbusch, Global Head of Information Technology, GfK added: "Earlier this year, we signed a service agreement with Equinix covering how all our EMEA data transfer will run via Equinix data centers by 2018. This partnership provides us with a scalable, cost-transparent access solution ensuring business-critical data is safeguarded with the highest levels of security. Lastly, the central location was a critical factor – Frankfurt is the ideal starting point for further expansion across Europe and the world."
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”