Jan. 18, 2017
Image (IDG, ARN - Modern data centres
An official announcement in Malaysia this week has confirmed the rebranding of Emerson Network Power as a new mission-critical digital infrastructure provider Vertiv.
The new company's focus and strategy was outlined to media in Kuala Lumpur on 17 January 2017 by Vertiv's senior executives - Singapore-based Paul Churchill, VP, sales, South East Asia, and Anand Sanghi, president, Asia Market, together with Malaysia-based Hitesh Prajapati, Malaysia country manager, and Ling Chee Hoe, vice president, Product and Solutions, Asia.
"We're building on a heritage of engineering and manufacturing from Emerson Network Power and moving forward to a new energy as Vertiv," said Churchill during his overview comments, adding that Platinum Equity finalised the acquisition of the business on 7th December 2016 from Emerson in a transaction valued in excess of US$4 billion. (Emerson retains a minority interest in the company.)
The new company remains headquartered in Columbus, Ohio (USA), with more than 20,000 employees worldwide and more than 25 manufacturing and assembly facilities led by recently appointed chief executive officer Rob Johnson.
In support of its rebranding as Vertiv, the company also unveiled this month its new website (VertivCo). In addition, to speed business decisions and retain the "intensity of a startup," the company has regional leaders, said Sanghi.
Photo - Vertiv senior executives in KL (From left) Anand Sanghi, President, Asia Market; Hitesh Prajapati, Malaysia Country Manager; Paul Churchill, Vice President, Sales, South East Asia; and Ling Chee Hoe, Vice President, Product and Solutions, Asia.
Churchill reiterated the new CEO's recent comments to US media where Johnson said: "It's a fresh start for a business that already has so much going for it. As an independent company, Vertiv will operate with great freedom to make business strategy and investment decisions, move more quickly like a startup, and focus on innovative solutions for our customers, including those in the growing cloud computing, mobile and IoT networks."
Vertiv's Churchill said, "Our new mission is to design, build and service critical infrastructure to power vital applications for data centres, communication networks, and commercial and industrial facilities."
He said one of the value-adds from Vertiv is to guard against failure of technology in the everyday world. "With the adoption of emerging technologies such as automation, IoT and so forth, powering critical applications means there can be no room for failure. Such as the failure of GPS in driverless vehicles when going through a tunnel."
"This complexity of technology will increase," added Sanghi. "The growth of technology such as automation, which will grow 10-fold, is joined by other megatrends in data and communications such as Cloud, IoT, and the number of devices being added each year to the network is just phenomenal."
"The explosion of data is driving the growth of communications networks and telecoms, which are investing heavily in transformation, are shifting from traditional communication to software driven infrastructure," said Churchill.
Sanghi added that verticals in the region "are a real growth area for us. These include healthcare, rail & transportation, power generation, oil & gas (despite the recent downturn in that sector), medical tourism and so on."
He said the company's investment in research and development has increased into relatively new areas such as solar, wind and advanced battery technologies.
Vertiv will build on the broad portfolio of product and service offerings for power, thermal and IT management capabilities it previously offered as Emerson Network Power, including its flagship brands ASCO, Chloride, Liebert, NetSure and Trellis under the Vertiv brand.
Churchill said that the new company's value-add included the unification of the above two five products supported by local service. "The company is moving from a product to a modular solutions base already in this region. This approach is proving to be especially effective in helping companies grow rapidly in emerging economies."
All four executives said the new company has a "laser, intense startup focus" and positive about the opportunities in the region.
The story in Malaysia
This positive outlook includes Malaysia, "which has attractive potential as a data centre hub." Malaysia country manager Hitesh Prajapati said almost all companies across all verticals including government now have some form of digital transformation (DX) plan.
In its old form, the company's 2016 performance was "very solid, with high double digit growth." When asked by Computerworld Malaysia whether its 2017 outlook echoed the sentiments by local industry, Prajapati and Sanghi said the outlook remained positive.
"There is a visible good pipeline of projects," confirmed Sanghi. Prajapati agreed and said that the company has a 30-year history in Malaysia serving most verticals from financial, healthcare, education, manufacturing, power, government and transportation.
Vertiv's Kelana Jaya base has added new office facilities, which include a Solutions Experience centre and training facility, he said. "We work with a distributor network of solution partners in Malaysia especially in the medium company sector."
"In 2017, the Malaysia plan includes working closely with our verticals including government, banking and telecoms," Prajapati said. "Telecoms are some of the biggest spenders in the country at the moment."
"Meanwhile, in the manufacturing sector, we have seen good growth and many new smart manufacturing initiatives especially in automation. The local manufacturing sector has to speed up its digitisation. In addition, Budget 2017 included government grants to businesses to encourage the adoption new technologies," he said.
"Malaysia in common with other governments in the region are realising they need to tackle traffic congestion with infrastructure improvements such as the expansion of the MRT this year," Prajapati added.
The company is also actively seeking out specialist industry system integrators to better customise solutions within different verticals.
'Disruption is the new norm'
He said local customers are demanding more help with DCIM (data centre management), data centre optimisation and enabling converged systems to especially manage the network to the edge.
Churchill gave an example of the challenge of modernising existing data centres and the need for better network visibility. "We see strong demand for DCIM not just from KL but from regions such as Johor, Penang, etc."
Sanghi said, "Industries are changing rapidly with emerging technologies. There has been more disruption in the last two or three years than many years previously, in my experience. Disruption is the new normal."
"Small organisations can have the same tech resource as large organisations now," he said. "The focus is innovation and customers."
Asked by Computerworld what differentiated Vertiv from other players, Sanghi and Churchill pointed to the company engineering skills and expertise heritage along with its service portfolio that enabled the interaction of equipment across the network.
"As a private company, with funding from its new owners, Vertiv can keep ahead of the speed of change," Sanghi said.
The first edition of this feature was published on Computerworld Malaysia on 17th January 2017.