Each month, we will highlight a Global Solutions Architect (GSA) and the innovative work he/she is doing with our enterprise customers. This first GSA spotlight is on Guido Coenders, a principal GSA for EMEA. Guido has been working with enterprises for more than 16 years and is proud to be one of the first Equinix GSAs in Europe.
Guido, his wife and two sons live in the south of the Netherlands, about 100 miles from his home base, IBX AM3. He enjoys being involved with his sons’ activities (soccer and computers) and spends his free time walking, running or cycling.
Q: How has architecting IT solutions enabled you to help enterprises solve their business challenges?
A: Having done “everything” in IT infrastructures Ì¶ building, configuring, designing, product development, financial analysis and business requirements translation Ì¶ has given me the ability to speak to every layer of an enterprise’s organization. I’ve gained insights into what makes companies tick and how difficult certain decisions can be for them to make.
As a GSA in EMEA, there is a cultural aspect to my role that crosses country borders. You need to understand the differences among multiple countries, whether it’s having to do with regulations or protocols for doing business. I also enjoy coordinating our multinational enterprises’ efforts with the rest of our worldwide SA team. I can reach out to SA counterparts in EMEA, North America or Asia-Pacific and know that the high quality of customer engagement will be consistent and the project will get done.
Q: What are the top issues that your customers face?
A: For a number of companies, we are helping them move their IT off-premise and prepare for the next 10 years of IT evolution to come. Some of these transitions can be extremely complex and take many years.
Businesses understand that not much is going on within their premises. They know that a colocation data center is where everything is happening. Global networking, the Internet, cloud computing Ì¶ they are all centralized in Equinix.
One of the biggest challenges we face every day in EMEA is our customers’ concern for where they should put their data based on country-specific laws and security requirements. This issue can make the “cloud discussion” more challenging. We help our customers plan cloud deployments and/or migrations, keeping both customer requirements and country laws in mind.
We work with network service providers (NSPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs) on different problems, such as finding new markets, introducing new solutions faster and reducing costs. Large network and telecommunications carriers are preoccupied with the cloud and connecting their customers to it. We can bring NSPs into our dense ecosystem of CSPs (and vice versa) and enable their customers to plug in to multiple cloud services much faster.
Understanding the enterprise, NSP and CSP perspectives allows me and my SA team counterparts to take on these issues with a complete solution approach. We have the ability and expertise to work with all our customers and partners through these challenges and empower them to make good decisions, resulting in best-in-class, end-to-end solutions.
Q: Is there a specific customer you’ve been working with recently that you’d like to tell us about?
A: One of the most rewarding companies that I’ve worked with lately is a medium-sized German manufacturing enterprise that was struggling to move off-premise. This was a difficult consolidation, migration and re-architecture journey. We worked with them to make the move to the Equinix Frankfurt IBX and helped them develop a custom network.
Bringing them into a stable colocation IT environment with much less downtime resulted in their realizing cost savings from increased productivity. As an added advantage, they gained far more and easier access to other services, be it networks, clouds or other types of service providers, eliminating being locked into just one or two vendors.
As a GSA, I have opportunities to help companies steer the direction they should be going by collecting their requirements and translating them into new services and enhancements to existing services. In some areas, such as hybrid cloud computing, some EMEA companies are catching up with other parts of the world. At the same time, being a part of the Equinix CTO team puts me in a position where I can feed customer requirements back to our product teams and make a valuable contribution to where Equinix is going as a company.
This is what I enjoy the most about being an Equinix GSA Ì¶ being a trusted adviser, enabling businesses to see where they should be going and helping them get there while developing Equinix capabilities along the way.