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Advancing a business without increasing the footprint: how digital infrastructure is supporting sustainable growth

By Business & Finance
17 November 2023

Operating in an environmentally responsible manner has moved from being a desirable quality for a business to a non-negotiable, as we all strive to create a green future. Digital infrastructure plays a key role in this, particularly for businesses looking to expand their services, customer base or geographic footprint without the environmental burden.

At Equinix, we know that how we approach the environment directly impacts our customers. We are making significant investments in innovations – such as liquid cooling – that will reduce our carbon footprint and enable businesses to reduce theirs, too. At the same time, we are coming up with world-leading sustainable solutions that support expansive, but responsible, business growth.

To delve into how industry leaders are using digital infrastructure to support growth while also meeting their environmental targets, I spoke with Tom Hayes, PTSB’s Group Chief Technology Officer; and Rosalyn Donnelly, Head of IT at C&D Foods.

By Peter Lantry, Managing Director for Ireland, Equinix


Pictured: Peter Lantry
Managing Director for Ireland, Equinix
Rosalyn Donnelly, Head of IT at C&D Foods.
Pictured: Rosalyn Donnelly
Head of IT, C&D Foods

Pictured: Tom Hayes
Group Chief Technology Officer, PTSB


Q: Tom and Rosalyn, you both represent companies who are major players in their respective fields and markets. Can you outline the scale of your business?

Tom Hayes: PTSB is a bank with over 200 years of heritage, working within communities across Ireland to understand customers’ needs and deliver the right support. We are now entering a new chapter in PTSB’s history following the acquisition of €6.7BN of Ulster Bank assets, 25 new branches and the addition of more than 300 former Ulster Bank colleagues to our team. We now move forward with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to serve our new and existing 1.2M+ customers nationwide in the most responsible manner. Our recently announced new brand name, PTSB, and customer promise, ‘Altogether More Human’, represents our ambition and our commitment to bringing together the best of technology and the best of our people to deliver exceptional customer experiences.Rosalyn Donnelly: C&D Foods is part of the ABP Food Group and is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of pet food, offering specially formulated cat and dog food of superior quality and value. Over the past 50 years, we have grown to become a leader in the private label market. Our aim is simple: to make a difference to every customer we work with. We offer manufacturing facilities and sales offices in 14 locations across Europe with 1,500 employees driving excellence and innovation in pet food.We have a mix of centralised and decentralised IT infrastructure designed and built to support our growth and scale across Europe. We work with our suppliers and partners to support and supplement us in areas that support our core operations and allow us to scale at pace when needed. Behind all of this is a first-class team of people across Europe who work together to provide IT services that enable us to serve our customers.


Q: As Rosalyn said, IT has a direct impact on business success. In terms of your technology strategies, is sustainability a consideration when looking to support the expansion of your services or business?

TH: As CTO, my role is dedicated to ensuring we have a technology strategy that can help us to achieve our goals. Our customers are at the heart of our purpose, and we have a continuous focus on improving our customer experience across all points of engagement – be that our digital, voice or branch channels. As the bank grows, the sustainability of this growth with respect to climate, social and community is central to our overall strategy.

RD: At C&D Foods, we are very proud of our track record on sustainability and have adopted a strategy of ‘Doing more with Less’, which is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is now a core element of the job, and our ethos. It is as simple as investing well upfront in proven technology and software, and working with partners that understand our business, our scale and our ambition for growth while, fundamentally, being agile to our business needs.


Q: It’s great to hear how sustainability is becoming one of the key considerations with your expansion plans. How do you ensure your digital infrastructure supports expansion, while also ensuring you meet your sustainability targets?

TH: Our multi-year digital transformation programme continues to deliver an enhanced customer experience with improvements delivered across all customer channels, but especially to online customer journeys where customers expect more and more self-service capability and innovation. Customers’ natural transition to digital channels has symbiotic benefits with our sustainability goals and we are very focused on continuing to enhance our digital offering.From a core technology perspective, our strategy is very focused on transforming our data centre footprint to have a more sustainable climate impact whilst at same time being more resilient and flexible. Our development of a hybrid cloud strategy is central to this. Enhancing our data capability is also key, as we seek to increase transparency and reporting of our business impacts on the green economy.

RD: Digital infrastructure gives us the flexibility to scale up and down dynamically and keep costs relative to the benefit they deliver, while enabling us to dial down capacity and services when they are not needed with security in the knowledge that we can ramp it up when we do.This is all part of sustainable expansion which would not be possible but for digital infrastructure. It contributes to efficiencies and, along with the alliances that we have with like-minded suppliers, it creates a template that allows us to grow, distribute and roll out systems remotely, at pace and more efficiently than before.Reducing capacity does not reduce capability. The evolution of technology and services available today is in itself… ‘doing more with less’!


Q: Of course, with more progress is the reputation that comes with it. How important is your sustainable reputation to your growth plans?

TH: Demonstrating the sustainability of our business and associated technology strategy is an absolute imperative. And for us, sustainability goals must reach out far broader than climate.While supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is a key pillar of our sustainability strategy, we are equally focused on elevating our social impact and connecting with local communities. We are integrating sustainability into all areas of our business and technology strategies. We believe that our sustainability strategy gives us an opportunity to put our purpose into action – enabling us to play our part in addressing the global climate crisis, elevate our social impact, enhance our culture and deliver what matter most to our customers and colleagues. Ultimately, we are building a sustainable organisation that is fit for the future.

RD: Sustainability is a core measurement of our business’s success. Customers are given those measures from the outset and throughout their journey with us. We share our customers’ passion to consistently reduce our impact on the environment and find innovative ways to work together to that end.We have grown from strength to strength by continuing to make a difference to our customers, listening to their needs and staying true to our own sustainability commitments which builds our reputation in itself.


The commitment to sustainability, shared by technology leaders like Tom Hayes and Rosalyn Donnelly, demonstrates how it is now inextricably linked to business growth. Their razor-sharp focus on sustainability, coupled with dynamic and ambitious technology strategies, showcases a new, more responsible era of technology leadership.I invite you to join Equinix at our upcoming CIO virtual roundtable on Tuesday, 28th November 2023, in which we will further explore these critical topics and share insights on how digital infrastructure can become an essential ally in driving sustainable growth. Together, we can shape a more responsible and environmentally friendly future for our businesses and the world.