Steve Gentle, Head of Service Delivery, Telehouse Europe

Three decades is a major milestone for any business. However, such a feat is only possible with help from the right talent and expertise. So, as we celebrate 30 years since Telehouse opened its first London data centre Telehouse North and became Europe’s first colocation provider, we are also delighted to recognise 23 years of loyal service and hard work from our very own Head of Service Delivery, Steve Gentle. We recently picked Steve’s brains to find out how the company has changed during his long and eventful tenure at Telehouse.

What was Telehouse like when you joined in 1997?

When I joined Telehouse I was part of a very small team looking after a huge amount of equipment. At the time we had Telehouse Metro in the heart of the City of London and one facility here in Docklands which has now become a campus comprising of four data centres. We had maybe 50 or 60 staff in the whole organisation.

It was an interesting time because the concept of a data centre was very new to a lot of people. Customers had different end goals back then, from networking, buying or selling services to other clients, or housing a disaster recovery installation. We now have over 700 customers with a very diverse range of end goals which we help them achieve.

What does your role currently entail and how has it changed over the years?

As Head of Service Delivery I’m responsible for a comprehensive cable installation department and the engineering department which manages customer installation. I joined Telehouse as an IT Engineering Manager. Initially the idea was to manage IT for individual customers but the focus has become providing a secure environment for them. When I first joined there were just two of us in the team but now there are 25 of us.

Has the current COVID-19 situation changed your working practices?

The current situation is certainly unlike anything Telehouse has had to deal with in the last 30 years but as far as our customers are concerned, we’re providing business as usual. Whatever they need, we’re here to deliver that. We’ve got half of the team in the office and the other half working from home and we swap that around week by week so everyone gets the chance to work at home or in the office. This is just another reflection of the agility that is at the core of our business.

What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve been involved in?

The big one for me was building Telehouse East on the Docklands campus. It was down to me to design and install the dark fibre infrastructure between the two facilities. It was a matter of predicting what the customer uptake in connectivity would be, and installing that upfront from day one. It was a challenge but we were able to install quite a comprehensive fibre ring which has grown to include every building on the campus.

Expanding the team has also been a real highlight. Back in 2010 we took on the responsibility for all the IT cabling across the entire campus. We developed a 24/7 shift team to support this and that’s grown to the 25-strong team we have today.

What is it about working at Telehouse that has kept you with us for over two decades?

I’ve enjoyed being able to work with a really diverse range of colleagues and clients. It’s interesting working with such a wide variety of clients who each have differing requirements and it’s always inspiring to see everyone working together to provide a workable solution for each of those clients.

What do you think is the secret to Telehouse’s success?

We’ve always made sure that we’re agile and flexible enough to deliver exactly what our customers want. More often than not, it’s different every time but we are always flexible enough to be able to assess their needs and deliver a workable project.

What do you think Telehouse will look like in another 30 years’ time?

I think in another 30 years’ time we’ll still be delivering bespoke projects for equally challenging customers. We are where we are today because of our agility and we can continue to change what we deliver in response to changing market requirements and customer needs. It’s what we’ve always done and it’s what we continue to do.

Find out more about Telehouse’s journey to 30 with our anniversary video, and read the inside story in our anniversary eBook.