Dimension Data Ramps Up Data Center Push With Employee, Acquisition Investments

Dimension Data is ramping up its data center investment, announcing plans to hire 300 more employees and possibly make a data-center-focused acquisition.

The $6.7 billion global solution provider, No. 13 on CRN's SP500 list, said it plans to hire the 300 employees over the next 18 months. They will be spread fairly equally across different regions, with around 45 hires in the U.S. market, said Richard Garratt, director of the data center business unit for Dimension Data Americas. The hires will be "accelerated" in the next six months, he said.

Garratt said Dimension Data mostly will be adding employees around architecture and consulting. In particular, he said Dimension Data is looking for architects to help clients work on delivering applications and platforms, and for consultants to help customers find the right solutions around enterprise architecture, verticals and business outcomes.

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Dimension Data also is evaluating making a data-center-focused acquisition in the near term, the solution provider said. Garratt declined to comment too much on that possibility, but did say that mergers and acquisitions are part of the growth strategy for the company.

"[The investment is] obviously quite significant ... It's a testament to the way we are driving towards the market," Garratt said.

While Dimension Data has signed on as the first global hosting partner for Cisco InterCloud in May, Garratt said this investment in data centers is separate from that announcement. While investments in Dimension Data's data centers do drive some of the joint work the solution provider does with Cisco, it is "not specific to that investment," Garratt said.

The goal with the investments in people and acquisitions is to help drive a quadrupling of the solution provider's data center business from $1 billion to $4 billion by 2018. Garratt said that goal is in response to growing client demand for outsourcing and managed services around the data center. "I'm blown away day to day with the demand for managed services," Garratt said.

Garratt said clients are looking to invest in advanced technologies such as hybrid cloud, big data, and analytics and applications, but instead of doing it themselves are looking to "repurpose their IT budgets" through trusted solution providers, such as Dimension Data.

"That continues to be a trend ... The solutions and resourcing and the strategy for Dimension Data is always looking to be that trusted adviser to clients on a global basis. It's really to be almost hands-on, so they [clients] can be hands-free so they can run it," Garratt said.

By investing heavily in its data center business, Garratt said Dimension Data is better able to service those needs through its managed services practice.