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With a background in digital transformation, Carlo Malana has spent the past two decades in the technology and telecommunications industry in the United States and Mexico and is now working to enable digital in the Philippines.
As President and CEO of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) Philippines, a joint venture between one of the world’s fastest-growing data center providers, Globe, and Ayala Corporation, Malana seeks to jump-start the digital infrastructure growth in the country.
He moved back to the Philippines in 2019 to be the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Globe, and almost immediately had to accelerate and adapt this essential business as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the country.
“We had to adapt to the business needs that arose during the pandemic. We had to create new applications to support the business in a different mode of operation,” Malana explains. “Within a few days we had to transform our organization from the hybrid office setup up to be in full work-from-home mode.”
This agility will prove invaluable as STT GDC Philippines looks to scale up its core set of assets and platforms in the Philippines. Further establishing the organization to truly become a digital hub for the region, similar to Singapore or Hong Kong, is a goal for Malana.
“It’s actually the largest data center complex in the entire STT GDC portfolio – it’s a very significant milestone for us.”
By asking the question of what foundation is needed for digital solutions to thrive, Malana refocused on the ecosystem needed to ensure computers can be powered, secured, cooled and connected.
“The place where all of that happens is a data center. So being part of that digital infrastructure and putting the Philippines on the regional map, for me, has been a worthwhile goal,” he adds.
In many markets across the world, the demand for data centers is rapidly increasing, leaving businesses like STT GDC Philippines in an ideal position to meet this growth. In recent months, Malana and his team have announced a number of ambitious data center projects, including a 124-megawatt data center campus in Manila.
The facility will serve as the country’s largest and most interconnected carrier-neutral data center.
“It’s actually the largest data center complex in the entire STT GDC portfolio – it’s a very significant milestone for us,” Malana explains. He now wants to concentrate on the core objectives to ensure these data centers are as successful as possible.
“Our customers need to have the resources that are quickly going to be able to go to the data centers if needed and to work on projects nearby,” he says. “We also need to leverage the redundant infrastructure in place near the metro areas at this time, and so we still believe that, at this point in the game, having our assets in the metro area is a very big differentiator.”
STT GDC Philippines is now focusing its assets on Quezon City, Makati and Cavite, its three main campuses. It also has an operation in Davao, as the firm prepares to expand in the south of the Philippines.
In the short-term, the enterprise is addressing expansion issues across the country by completing a 5.2-megawatt expansion at all of its existing data centers this year.
All the relationships STT GDC Philippines has with suppliers are built on trust and transparency. By having strong and long-lasting relationships with strategic suppliers and external partners, the company has benefited greatly.
“If we encounter problems, having that ability to define the problem and solve it is a key advantage. You’re able to do it at a pace that outweighs and really outpaces a different situation where the trust levels aren’t quite as high,” Malana says.
“Having our assets in the metro area is a very big differentiator.”
Partnerships with firms like Schneider Electric, where operational excellence, sustainability and efficiency are key, is essential to the continued success of STT GDC Philippines. For Malana, operating in an environment where partners are committed to the same goals, makes it much easier to address issues that arise.
As STT GDC Philippines views sustainability initiatives as a must-have, it’s vital that partners also place sustainability at the forefront. Beyond efficiency, Malana looks to ensure the right factors are being tracked and all aspects of sustainability are considered.
“Are they companies that are also working on specific initiatives, not just on efficiency, but also on good governance, diversity and essentially creating and maintaining an environment that we’re going to be proud to hand off to the next generation?” he concludes.
For Malana, a company is only as good as its people, and he believes in employee empowerment and less hierarchy through the business. Following a philosophy that develops and coaches the other leaders of the company to be able to scale, Malana understands that you can’t run a company alone.
“We have to build a vision and create a clear direction to ensure that everyone in the company understands how to individually make the right decisions that collectively bring us to our unified goal of enabling a digital Philippines.”