In addition to being one of the greatest obstacles for data centres, the skills shortage is also one of the most difficult to overcome. Might AI provide a remedy?
According to a study conducted by the digital infrastructure company Equinix, 62% of global IT decision-makers consider an IT skills shortage as one of the greatest challenges to their organisation.
In fact, 44% of respondents expressed worry over applicants applying for positions with incorrect skill sets and the continued struggle to retain present personnel.
The sector is increasing fast, but it is evident that absent a change in circumstances, the current growth rate is unsustainable.
Moreover, like in numerous other areas of the industry, technology will be essential to solving this important issue. New AI technologies are one of the most frequently mentioned remedies to the current talent shortage. Globally, innovative people professionals are employing AI to assist customers in achieving a more efficient, supportive, and intuitive approach to both onboarding and talent retention.
That is an intriguing idea, but it is not risk-free. However, as it is, it is not a failsafe solution. Hence, is AI technology actually relevant for boosting and augmenting skills in data centres?
Taking on one of the greatest dangers to data centres – the talent shortage
Although AI is usually viewed as a danger to employment, the technology is rapidly being utilised to attract and, most importantly, retain more talent in the industry.
“Attracting new team members and maintaining existing colleagues is one of the greatest challenges for data centres. Humans are the core of every organisation, and there is a common fear that AI will be used to replace people in order to drive change. However, this is not the case, according to Mick Lane, the Global Technology Solutions Manager at CBRE.
In reality, for many industry professionals, the digital transformation of talent efforts is a long overdue development. Yet the combination of the epidemic and the present skill scarcity has placed this delay in the international limelight.
Alan Bourne, CEO and Founder of Sova asserts: “The global COVID crisis has brought into sharp focus not only how necessary technological evolution is (especially to the bottom line), but also how many organisations have been resting on their laurels for too long when it comes to turning intent into action in this vital area.”
Now, however, the potential for employing AI in recruiting is fast expanding. After its extraordinary success in many other fields, the business community anxiously anticipates its effect here.
“As AI continues to break through constraints and transform the way we operate, it is logical for us to question how we might utilise AI to tackle additional problems in the data centre business,” Lane posits.
“With the proper tools in place, organisations can save a substantial amount of money by automating arduous duties like CV reviews and interview administration, as well as evaluation chores – and even some phases of the interview process itself,” Bourne explains.
Finally, after fresh talent has been successfully onboarded, AI may be utilised to assist firms in providing greater assistance for the employee throughout the duration of their employment.
Several long-term benefits are associated with this strategy. Bourne says that, in addition to the obvious monetary rewards, AI enables organisations to obtain important data and analytics to show long-term performance indicators among its employees by following employee journeys from application to departure interview.
“In terms of supporting talent, AI can be very effective as a tool supporting augmented reality training scenarios, providing efficient real-time operational analytics, and for attracting talent by demonstrating that a business is leveraging new and emerging technologies to offer employees more interesting and future-proof roles,” Lane elaborates.
Using AI to promote increased DE&I is the first obstacle that must be surmounted.
76% of job seekers and workers, according to a recent Glassdoor poll, consider workforce diversity to be an essential aspect when considering possible new employers and career opportunities.
A DEI plan is now an essential element of any successful business. Before AI can be employed as the cornerstone of your onboarding process, it must be matched with certain DEI objectives. Traditionally, this has been a challenge for a great number of businesses.
“Even firms with the best intentions may fail to quantify the success of their DEI projects. Somen Mondal, General Manager of Talent Intelligence at Ceridian, notes that a lack of clearly measured and intelligible data is also to blame.
Although talent intelligence software is now supporting the hiring process, how can it be utilised to establish diverse and representative teams?
Transparency is, according to Mondal, the greatest uncertainty around the use of AI in talent efforts. With more transparent algorithms and continual analyses of these, AI can become a long-term ethical answer.
“Traditionally, diversity and inclusion have been assessed using just self-reported demographic data. Yet, there are more effective methods to use data to evaluate programmes.”
“The next frontier is how organisations may make decisions about the talent that are fairer and more egalitarian. Transparency – knowing why and how algorithms and people do what they do – is the new frontier in DEI beyond efficiency because it enables greater insight into the fundamentals and helps uncover potential inequities in processes and algorithmic bias that may be hiding beneath the surface, Mondal predicts.
AI is boosting the whole employee journey – training, risk management, and upskilling.
In light of this, what do we foresee AI’s future role being in the continuous effort to assist talent?
Using CBRE as an example, the organisation offers a highly specialised data centre training and upskilling programme. Also, it is the first organisation in the world to offer Competence & Confidence Assessment Modelling (CCAM) to the digital infrastructure business.
“CCAM training enables us to meet the demand for intelligent facilities by continuously assessing our employees’ competence and confidence in relevant technologies and technical disciplines and by closing any identified gaps in the engineering workforce through comprehensive training programmes,” explains Lane.
“Using AI to teach our personnel in data centres helps us to embrace new, emerging technologies and guarantee our talent is ready for the next generation of technology and remains ‘right skilled.'” “By adopting this strategy, CBRE is ensuring that our employees remain employable in a market that is always evolving.”
With AI-based insight systems, CBRE dramatically decreases the risks to which its staff are exposed.
AI empowers teams with pertinent real-time data and trend forecasts, allowing them to address any possible abnormalities far before they become a problem. AI can identify, for example, a failure warning in a cooling pump. It warns teams, who are then able to rectify the problem far before it creates a hazard to personnel on-site.
This physical-to-digital-to-physical loop employs AI in real time to recognise patterns, simulate probable future scenarios, and learn to anticipate future events, as explained by Lane.
This vital information equips our personnel to proactively avoid downtime, become more responsive to unanticipated shifts in demand, and work more flexibly in the face of previously unpredictable environmental shifts, as well as prepare them to face potential internal and external challenges to the facility.