Development is at the core of Equinix’s HR strategy, says Ravi Ravishankar, vice-president of marketing for Asia-Pacific
With an explosion in demand for cloud solutions, companies in the sector are constantly searching for innovative and efficient ways to maximise market share, as Ravi Ravishankar, Equinix’s vice-president of marketing for Asia-Pacific, explains.
What trends have you seen shaping the IBX data centre and co-location sector over the last few years?
There are three major technology trends which have transformed our industry in recent years, namely cloud computing, digitalisation, and business innovations around SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud). These trends are pulling enterprises into the digital era, which demands that people and things are highly interconnected.
What effects are these trends having on careers in the sector in Hong Kong?
Historically, professionals in our sector had to be primarily specialised in just one thing – their own discipline. Nowadays, the world is changing so fast – new innovations surface every day. In order to keep pace, professionals now have to maintain a learning and entrepreneurial mindset and be very versatile. As a result, finding well-rounded talents in this industry is becoming increasingly challenging.
What are the recruitment challenges for firms like Equinix when looking for talent?
To us, recruitment is about finding the right person and how we can fit into each other’s expectations. Companies each have a unique culture, and candidates come with their own set of principles as well. It is a matter of whether our core values match with their beliefs, and vice versa.
Has Equinix made any changes to its recruitment strategy recently?
We put development at the core of our entire human resources strategy. This begins the moment an employee joins our family, extends into our leadership training, is reflected in our CSR initiatives and reiterated in the regular rewards and recognition we give to our team.
What separates a great professional in your field from just a good one?
A good marketing professional is someone who is good at his own discipline, and is abreast of the happenings that have an impact on the industry. On top of that, a great one understands the business well and is constantly learning.
Can you outline the path your career took to get to your current role? Is this a typical progression?
I started off with a mechanical engineering degree and spent a few years in a related role, focusing on developing technical solutions for clients. I got an MBA in 1998, which was a turning point in my career. Most engineering professionals though still prefer to stay in more technical and targeted fields.
What formal qualifications would you recommend professionals in your industry, or those hoping to get into it, acquire?
There are many formal qualifications and accreditations that I would recommend when it comes to building technical skills, but these depend on which verticals you are specialising in. However, from the perspective of a marketing professional, the ability to market products using the latest digital platforms and channels is essential.
How easy is it for professionals from other sectors to move into the data centre sector? What do they need to consider?
It is not hard, as long as they can show a good understanding of digital and social marketing. Hard skills are not hard to teach, it is the soft skills and cultural fit that takes a longer time to cultivate.
What is the hardest part of your job? And the most rewarding?
One of my key roles is finding the right balance between global consistency and local need, in order to adhere to a consistent brand voice but at the same time resonate with our local target audience.
The most rewarding part is seeing people reach their potential.
Is a good work-life balance possible in your line of work? Do you have any tips on how to achieve this?
There are naturally months when you have to do more work, especially when time-critical initiatives are being executed. The important thing is that everybody in your life understands why you are busy. Similarly, when an employee needs to take some time off from work due to family or personal reasons, we remain very supportive and happy to cover the work in their absence.
I have three tips to facilitate better work-life harmony: time management and planning, prioritisation, and setting expectations of stakeholders.