Feature Interview

March 2023

A World-Leading Digital Infrastructure Company: An Interview with Equinix

The Advantage of Having One Project Manager at a Translation Company Exclusively in Charge of One's Company

Ohsato: What do you look for in a translation company when translating content provided by headquarters?

Arai: I think it's having a competent project manager in charge when translating documents. From a customer's standpoint, we feel very grateful to have a fixed person in charge who sees the translation through to the proofreading stage. In terms of ensuring translation accuracy and avoiding discrepancies, I also think it's best to have an exclusive translator who can research and learn about our company. Even if multiple translators are involved, if the project manager at the translation company checks everything thoroughly, there's no problem. But I've never come across a company that actually does that--even though they always promise to do so when making pitches (laughs). But then there's the problem of deadlines. You can trust companies that ask you about your requirements up front, such as whether you want to prioritize having the same translator or meeting a deadline, and handling the project flexibly. I think it's a wonderful added value that the project manager thoroughly reviews any concerns that customers may have with translations. It's something other translation companies don't do.

Itoh: Do you expect translation needs to rise at Equinix in the future?

Arai: I believe needs will keep rising. Headquarters have released a policy to handle all translations with AI, but to be honest, I think using AI for Japanese will be difficult for some time. In Japanese, the same word can change the meaning of the translation completely depending on how it's used. In some cases, it's also easier to understand IT and network terms as well as product names when they are written in English, katakana (Japanese syllabary used to write foreign words), or as abbreviations. In addition, we don't want to change the expressions for certain content no matter where we translate them. At present, no AI can handle all of these requirements.

Ogawa: What sort of feedback do you receive from your customers?

Arai: Our company has an assessment criterion called the Net Promoter Score (NPS)*2 to measure customer satisfaction levels. Our goal at present is to raise this score, and to do so, we must address the feedback we receive from our customers. Most of the feedback is about our translation quality. So, a project team was established and has started working on addressing this issue.

*2: An index to quantify customer loyalty. It scores and evaluates the question, "How likely are you to recommend our products or services to people close to you?"

Engaging in Sustainability Efforts From Early On

Ohsato: I heard Equinix is actively engaged in sustainability efforts as well. Could you tell us about that?

Arai: Equinix is putting a lot of effort into sustainability. For example, our data centers in Japan are 100% covered by renewable energy, through the purchase of local and international renewable energy certificates. We have also issued approximately 4.9 billion USD worth of investment grade green bonds globally and use the funds to invest in sustainability efforts. In Europe, our HE3 IBX data center in Helsinki exports recovered heat to a district network to supply about 12,000 nearby residents with a source of low-carbon heat. When it comes to water, globally we strive to reduce overall consumption by recycling non-drinkable water and harvesting rainwater.

In terms of hardware, we established a co-innovation facility in Washington D.C. where we partner with other companies to research things like immersion and liquid cooling technologies, which are more efficient than conventional air cooling. The facility is also trialing various other initiatives, including fuel cells and software, all geared toward improved efficiency and reduced energy use, contributing to a low-carbon society.

Ohsato: I hear you're also putting effort into employee volunteer activities.

Arai: In October, a total of around 220 employees in Japan participated in volunteer work as part of the Equinix Impact Program. Since we have around 600 employees, that means one in three people participated. Very few Japanese companies that run data centers organize such comprehensive activities.

Ohsato: That's impressive.

Arai: In terms of diversity, our employees come from a wide range of career backgrounds. Thorough manuals are in place to organize work at data centers, so people coming from various backgrounds can join. For example, it's not unusual to see former taxi drivers or people who were working as prep school teachers until just the other day joining the company.

Itoh: So, the doors are open even to people with no experience.

Arai: It's also easy to transfer between departments at Equinix, so employees who have worked at data centers for several years often do so, saying they want to become, for example, a systems engineer, a customer success manager, or a salesperson. But at the same time, employees need to have a broad range of knowledge. In the past, we only had the data center business, so you could do the work as long as you knew how to install or connect equipment. Now, however, digital infrastructure services have expanded significantly, so it's not enough to only have data center knowledge. You need network knowledge along with wide-ranging knowledge of computers and servers.

Ohsato: It must be challenging since technological advancements in the IT industry are particularly rapid.

Arai: In terms of the current marketing too, you need to understand everything in order to send out an effective message. There are many things to learn, so it's tough. But on the other hand, everyone has opportunities to transfer, so Equinix is a company where you can constantly update your career. The Japanese market still presents a lot of potential demand for Equinix, so we're looking for people who would like to enjoy working alongside us.

Ohsato: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.


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