Over the past 30 years, Byrne Murphy has spearheaded a number of ventures. Initially focusing on international property development, Byrne’s first step into the European market began by launching a successful range of outlet centres and private resident clubs. It was while successfully running these that his business and the world was forever changed by the arrival of the internet.
Byrne quickly came to appreciate how important the physical infrastructure was to the digital revolution. Interested in where the virtual world meets the physical world, he rapidly identified data centers as that pivotal intersection point. This led him to start DigiPlex in 2001, then a company with presence only in Norway but with big Nordic ambitions that would redefine innovation in data centers across the world.
Data centres operate at the heart of nearly all streaming, ‘cloud-based’ or network-based services. As the world moves quickly towards wider distribution of Internet of Things, cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence, the demand for fast, secure and powerful data centres grows exponentially each year. Today, data centres are responsible for about 2 per cent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions and 3 per cent of the world’s power usage. Given that data centers are the heart of the digitization, this is just a sliver of the impact the industry may come to have on the planet in the years to come. Businesses, and the data centers that support them, will both need to take greater responsibility for their environmental footprint. The Nordics immediately interested Byrne as the place to start and grow a data centre business, as the region offers some of the lowest costs for clean renewable power, and a climate with a low year-round temperature, ideal for state-of-the art energy-efficient cooling. With DigiPlex’s commitment to 100% renewable energy and constant drive to innovate to reduce power consumption, the company is pioneering sustainable practises within the industry.
Mission driven from the beginning, today, DigiPlex is one of the most cost-effective, secure and sustainable data centres in the world, taking full advantage of attractively low Nordic energy prices and clean renewable power to build its compelling offer. Innovation is woven into the company’s DNA. Throughout its 17-year lifetime, the business has won multiple awards for innovation and constantly adhered to the concept of ‘there’s got to be a better way.’ As soon as a project is completed, DigiPlex automatically leans into tomorrow and starts to brainstorm around new innovative ways to do the next project even better. A good example of this is the recent modifications to DigiPlex state of the art data centre in Stockholm. The centre became operational in 2015 and is one of the greenest and most energy efficient in the world, however true to the DigiPlex innovation DNA the company took the decision last month to modify the centre to recover excess heat from the severs to heat the district. The agreement is the world’s first where an already operational data centre with an indirect evaporative air to- air cooling solution, will be retrofitted to recover excess heat to heat up for 10,000 residential apartments. It is a virtuous cycle where everyday digital activities that start a process in DigiPlex’s data centre, like browsing or streaming video, turns into actions which contribute to heating the district.
Byrne’s long career as a business leader and an entrepreneur in international markets, has offered him a fair share of challenges and lessons learnt. Byrne’s piece of advice for some of the young and aspiring leaders out there is threefold:
- Recruit for ‘grit.’ To truly succeed in today’s fastmoving world, every business leader needs ‘grit.’ When building your management team ensure you recruit for the strength to never give up. If you don’t fully commit and persevere it’s easy to fall behind. This is a quality that DigiPlex looks for in all management positions.
- Build the right organisation culture. Long term survival requires the ability to constantly innovate. Hence, innovation needs to be a collective state of mind deeply rooted in the corporate culture. At DigiPlex every department lives and breathes the “innovate or die” maxim.
- Stop waiting! “If you really, really, have the urge to be a business leader, take the leap now. You won’t regret having tried, even if you fail. But, you may bitterly regret it if you never even tried.”