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“Success is a function of planning, execution, and technical awareness with a factor of risk”

Having found her niche at Deerns, Tatiana Smith is part of a fast-paced and well networked team of DC experts. Passionate about how innovative technology is providing new opportunities in the current Digital Economy context, Tatiana leads Data Centre (DC) projects around the world.

Leading Clients Projects to Success in Tech Evolution

London. 18 October, 2023. In today’s fast-evolving tech landscape, adapting with technology in this industry is critical. Guiding clients through the changing demands of the Data Centre sector is a critical part of my job. Delivering complex engineering and construction projects and programmes from initiation through to completion I need to consider the complexities and challenges, for example those accelerated by stringent government regulations, raise of digital applications (AI, IoT, Automation), market shifts and technological evolution. Additional layer is ESG considerations which should work hand in hand and align with commercial ambitions.

Whether on project or programme management portfolios, we offer services to our clients from site acquisition and development, through to construction and completion. The DC Team and I deliver innovative, efficient, and sustainable digital infrastructure to meet rising global demand for an always-on connected world. Technically challenging projects with MEP and Sustainability are part my exciting everyday work. Through these lenses I consider new build Data Centres, upgrades of existing sites and retrofit projects across Europe and beyond.

I am proud and delighted to be part of this, providing project delivery leadership, enabling quality assurance, and steering client-facing outputs, while guiding clients through the changing demands of this sector and supporting their commercial and ESG ambitions. My forte’ is helping our clients define their objectives, refine the brief and lead the project team to deliver. Successful project outcomes are only possible in controlled environments using robust governance, transparent communication, and open collaboration.

Tuned to commercial and societal needs: ESG & Project Management & Design

There are many interpretations of what ESG means in relation to the built environment, engineering, and architecture. To have a real impact on the global Sustainable Development Goals, ESG needs to be an integral part of the built environment lifecycle from feasibility and concept, through to construction, and on to operation. ESG needs to be considered from the outset, including project location, the purpose of built asset, and even whether it needs to be built at all! What we build now has a social impact and an impact on the environment during construction but will also continue to have an impact throughout its operating life. Key examples of addressing ESG through design, asset creation, and operation are:

  • Architecture and Infrastructure synergies to achieve ESG goals
  • Added value of the Advance Technical Engineering (ATE) for modelling and simulations of the buildings design to prove early concepts and for the prediction of optimal assets operations
  • Project Management as a continuation of corporate governance, business values and controls for construction of built assets and implementation of projects
  • Drivers and role of supply chain in the circular economy, re-use of material to achieve zero-carbon, self-sufficiency and contribution to local community (use less, work and shop locally)
  • Social impact and contribution of different types of buildings into community, importance of image and collaboration with the local government, win-win solutions such as co-siting that benefit both for the community and corporations.

The Big Three

The benefits of workplace diversity, developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the ongoing issue of constrained power supply demanding better access to green energy are in my view the big three trends presenting opportunities for cities in Europe to establish their credentials as DC hotspots.

  1. Diversity Counts: It is a true pleasure and achievement to work in an environment where women are recognised for their strengths and can thrive equally to men. It is important as female STEM professionals that we leverage our networking environment to enable other women to thrive. I continue promoting, mentoring and coaching women to enter our industry and navigate its challenges successfully.
  2. AI Job Impact Matters: The application of AI brings two issues to mind: the amazing opportunities this presents for the Data Centre industry and specifically for more advanced and efficient Project Management, governance and controls; and on the flipside how our jobs will be affected. AI promises to revolutionise efficiency, design innovation, safety, sustainability, and data-driven decision-making. It is an exciting frontier for our industry! But let’s not forget, as AI reshapes our sector, it raises questions about how our roles may evolve. Growth and progress can emerge if we embrace the change, upskill, and adapt.
  3. Public Reputation: Without strategic partnership and transparency with local communities the DC market will buckle under public pressure to consider their impact on local economies and environment. There is positive and promising movement despite all current barriers with sensible, win-win solutions being implemented and innovations embraced. For example, the Data Centre market is beginning to partner with local councils, energy providers, residential developments and others for co-siting opportunities and heat reuse from DC facilities. This will additionally reduce operational costs, minimise environmental impact.

Perfect Data Centre Blend

I love blending my background in engineering, business management and my experience in built asset consultancy so that I can consider the client business objectives and deliver efficiency. It is about finding the sweet spot for the client by combining programme, project management and engineering services. Success in a dynamic world hinges on adaptability, balancing market shifts, technological evolution, and government regulations while seizing opportunities for competitive and strategic advantage in a globalised landscape.

Tatiana Smith

Associate Director - Programme & Project Management