Interview: Joe Craparotta, Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric IT Australia

Thursday, 30 January, 2020

Interview: Joe Craparotta, Schneider Electric

In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts about the year ahead. Today we talk data centres and power with Schneider Electric’s Joe Craparotta.

How are AI, IoT and cyber threats changing your industry sector?

The data centre and industrial sectors are changing rapidly to address and adopt the benefits and threats these changes bring. At Schneider Electric we have created an architecture, EcoStruxure, which enables our customers and partners to use these building blocks to help achieve their IoT and digital vision, whilst also maintaining high standards in cybersecurity and data security.

Which innovations or disruptions are your customers most concerned about in the year ahead?

Our customers are telling us that most of their innovation and disruption is a by-product of their digital transformation plan. ‘Digital everywhere’ continues to be at the core of all business vision, but it is also the cause of concern. On the back of this our customers are seeing hybrid IT architecture as a key priority as it is the core enabler of their digital ambitions. Knowing where to build or buy data centre or cloud capacity requires a clear vision for the future.

The speed we are all moving at raises another customer challenge; that is, moving their change and people culture as rapidly as their technology change. Today’s world is one where technology is able to deliver outcomes that seemed impossible only a few years ago. However, companies can only move as fast as their people culture allows, so a disconnection of digital planning with human change planning sees most companies fail.

What will be the biggest growth opportunities for your company in 2020?

The ICT Industry has thrived in times of convergence and the biggest growth areas for APC by Schneider Electric and the wider Schneider Electric business are around IoT and also the convergence of the digital economy with the ‘power economy’. In the next couple of years the ICT industry will account for a quarter of the world’s electricity consumption… and its growing. Any organisation not considering a power strategy with their digital strategy needs to go back to the drawing board.

As digital continues to accelerate, the experience and expertise the market requires from Schneider and our partner ecosystem is growing with it, particularly in the IoT space. We can provide the technology that powers the data centre ecosystem and most importantly, through our EcoStruxure architecture, we can provide platforms for our customers to build out their power and digital strategy.

What’s on your tech wish list for 2020?

There are two things on my wish list for 2020 and beyond — the acceleration of our sustainability and climate change ambitions through tech adoption, and the support for tech start-ups in our industry. Sustainability and climate change ambitions need to accelerate. Our regulators need to be clearer in supporting this acceleration. In a time where accelerated digital adoption has a direct connection to power consumption, we need to move faster in addressing this significant issue. We now have the tech to save 30% to 50% energy consumption within the building and industrial environment, which will go a long way to solving this equation.

As a proud Australian, any industry or regulatory benefit that can be provided to our local entrepreneurs and start-ups to help them grow rapidly needs to be accelerated. In the Pacific Zone, we are the earliest adopters of tech in the world and we need to do a better job in supporting our start-up community. When I look at the investment made in the US start-up sector, it is no wonder that most successful start-up tech is coming from North America. We must strive to do better.

Joe Craparotta is a 25-plus-year IT veteran who has held senior executive positions across the IT, Industry and Energy Business Units within Schneider Electric. His current role leading the IT Division sees him heavily involved in the data centre segment. Joe also leads the Strategic Segment teams in the Pacific responsible for innovation and sustainability across a range of industrial sectors.

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