One cool customer

APC and MGE have joined forces with one goal: to redefine the delivery of critical power and cooling services from the desktop to the datacentre to the factory floor. Laurent Vernerey, president and CEO of APC-MGE is under no illusions when it comes to the challenges associated with a new organisation. ACN sat down with Vernerey to find out more about the new APC-MGE.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  June 4, 2007

|~|vernerey200x.jpg|~|Vernerey: We want to participate throughout the lifecycle of the data centre and the best way to achieve this is to get involved early in the design.|~|For a CEO in the early days of a massive post-acquisition integration project, Laurent Vernerey is surprisingly relaxed.

Rather than hunkering down in one office working through the finer details of the organisational structure for a new 12,000-strong power and cooling solutions behemoth, Vernerey hit the road.

Just weeks after the deal was finalised, Vernerey attended APC’s Middle East and Africa partner summit, learning firsthand about the frontline issues that the company’s resellers faced and outlining his vision for the new company.

“Partners expect us to be very clear on our product roadmap and channel strategy,” explains Vernerey.

“We are committed to making sure that the teams in the different regions bring the appropriate answers to the channel. We want to put passion and energy into everything that we do. We are passionate about customers and passionate about partners and APC-MGE will deliver the solutions and services that customers want.”

The scale of the new organisation is staggering. APC-MGE, backed by parent company Schneider, has more than 1,600 solution engineers and 1,500 field service engineers, backed by a worldwide team of more than 40,000 consultants, systems integrators and value-added partners.

With the power and cooling solutions space set to enter a period of marked change, APC-MGE expects to witness significant growth across all the sectors and regions that it covers.

According to Gartner, half of all datacentres will need to overhaul their power and cooling solutions within the next few years. The company already has a clear direction and a powerful understanding of the various customer requirements.

According to APC-MGE’s own post-acquisition mission statement to its partners, “It is no longer fiscally responsible to oversize power and cooling, no longer functionally practical to handle IT-driven ‘demand’ and facility-managed ‘supply’ issues in blissful isolation. After all, power in equals heat out. It did yesterday and it will tomorrow. And it will be tomorrow’s biggest problem.”

Vernerey views the union of APC and MGE as a potent partnership in a rapidly changing market – a company that can truly meet the needs of enterprise customers.

“It means that the enterprise customers will see a company that can bring them answers to very complex issues,” he says.

“We can put people in front of them that truly understand the datacentre. We can put people in front of them that truly understand the power room.

“These people will bring them a solution that is energy efficient, highly integrated and delivers efficiency to the datacentre. “MGE customers will benefit from the knowledge of cooling and racks that APC brings. Similarly, APC will benefit from the strong focus on the power side that MGE brings to the union. Our vision is to bring it all together for enterprise customers.

“Engaging with customers early on in the sales cycle and helping them understand the lifetime costs associated with the solutions that they select is vital to APC-MGE’s success. Talk to any executive within APC-MGE and one point becomes obvious: power and cooling solutions can no longer exist as isolated entities within an efficient corporate infrastructure.

“The two are inextricably intertwined with one another and need to be viewed as such if an organisation is to achieve maximum efficiency. We want to come to the table early with customers and show them that we have a suite of integrated management systems that gives them benefits for the full lifecycle of a solution,” Vernerey goes on to say.

“We will talk more about the TCO of the datacentre and this is now a driving force in the market. 20% of the lifetime cost is the acquisition of equipment and 80% is the costs that occur during the lifecycle.

“You will see us talk a lot more about the integrated power and management cooling system. We want to participate throughout the lifecycle of the datacentre and the best way to achieve this is to get involved early in the design.”

The efficient enterprise datacentre with minimal waste and maximum scalability can also enhance a customer’s green credentials, while simultaneously reducing operating costs.

On paper, APC-MGE boasts a powerful portfolio stretching from consumer-focused retail products through to the largest enterprise cooling and power solutions.

Taking this breadth of offering to market is not without its challenges, especially when you are also attempting to integrate two vendors into one seamless entity.

“It is an interesting time,” says Vernerey. “You have to manage two companies that are now becoming one and the customers want clarity. Taking care of customers is a top priority.”

With multiple delivery models in place, Vernerey is also dedicating resources to ensure that APC-MGE has clear routes-to-market that minimise conflict but also maximise customer choice as well as enhance the company’s footprint.

“We will continue to play in the market through all the channels that are accessible,” he explains. “We believe that - as an industrial player – we cannot box ourselves in as a pure hardware provider. We would lose our soul, our competency, and our ability to deliver solutions.

“We want to keep our competitive edge and customer intimacy and deliver solutions and services.”

APC’s historic investment in developing its InfraStruXure solution bodes well for future profitability according to Vernerey. “APC made a formidable entry into three phase systems,” he says.

“They changed the game – the InfraStruXure architecture did that, but it required a significant investment from APC to develop this. It was a visionary approach and we now need to bring it back to the reality of business. Changing the game is one thing; making money is something else. We want to push InfraStruXure but also generate a revenue stream throughout the life of the equipment by attaching services.”

Power and cooling solutions have come of age and APC-MGE is in prime position, offering a comprehensive product and solution range for all environments from the home to the SMB and enterprise space.

With the industry’s broadest service organisation, significant R&D investment and comprehensive design and management software, APC-MGE is a formidable operation.

By his own admission, Vernerey did not have all the answers for APC’s Middle East and Africa partner community, but the fact that he was there at all meant that the attendees went home happy.

They knew that the enlarged APC-MGE had a CEO that was prepared to listen to them as he embarked on the post-acquisition integration process.

If enterprise customers feel the same way and APC-MGE delivers on its critical power and cooling services proposition, this sector of the market looks set for exciting times ahead.

Vernerey is in no doubt that APC-MGE has the potential to redefine this market and satisfy customer requirements across the board.||**||

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