CW: Analysts are keenly watching the rise of the datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) software space. ABB has also plunged actively into boosting its DCIM capabilities...
PAL: Yes, it is part of our 'datacenters of the future' drive. ABB has strategically acquired companies like Power Assure, and Newave, among others that function in the advanced technologies space. ABB is investing into the future of the datacenter—tier-4 datacenters—where energy efficiency, reliability, and 99 percent uptime are the critical components. We have also taken the software opportunity in asset management, and load management systems, amongst others. These will add muscle to the drive.
CW: ABB is a late entrant to the datacenter story. What is your mandate for the next six months?
PAL: We are a strong player in the energy efficiency space, and have audits and solutions across industries across the globe. When it comes to the energy management portfolio for datacenters, our product, branded Decathlon, is a strong tool for DCM, covering all aspects of the datacenter. This is a substantial differentiator for ABB and through this we hope to raise the bar for energy efficient datacenters.
CW: Is localization one of your focus areas?
PAL: Yes, it is one of our major initiatives across all countries. As a policy, ABB tries to optimize its resources keeping local needs in mind. Our R&D spends go towards developing and localizing our global resources for domestic markets in order to leverage and optimize these resources. Fortunately, we have a strong global connection with 1,000-plus people (at the Global Engineering Center in Bangalore). Any India specific solution can be leveraged through the Global Engineering Center. We have the skill sets in place.
CW: Increasingly, datacenters are seen as profit centers, and investments in datacenters are being tied to business outcomes. This makes areas like capacity planning more important. How is this trend changing the way you talk to your customers?
PAL: Datacenters are a competitive business so our products have to be competitive in quality and pricing. Yet, being cheap is not the solution. So, TCO becomes the crux. ABB is an established player with a wide support base, and service and sales offices for upgrades. We emphasize that ROI is fundamental to all investments and that it is important not to sideline the importance of TCO.
CW: Will the datacenter business play out as solutions alone or have you evolved a service delivery model as well?
PAL: That is a key consideration. In most sectors, we play across multiple channels. Large datacenters are splitting datacenters into multiple packages—civil, electrical and server, and IT. We will be a provider of products and be a part of the solutions market as well. Various combos will play out and we will use all channels at our disposal. Channel partners will also play a role at the product level. We have a wide network of partners—between 400 and 450—all of whom are centered around the datacenter. Some are fairly active, and more would come into the dragnet.
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