For many firms trying to survive in today's competitive business environment, 24/7 operations have become a necessity. However, the downside of perpetual operations is that even a minor service disruption can have a catastrophic effect on overall productivity.
Taking chances with critical systems is no longer an option and companies now look to capable hands for support when designing and implementing infrastructure.
One such reliable business partner is the Hong Kong-based Newtech Technology Company Limited (Newtech), an expert in providing total solutions for critical environments since 1992.
In a "critical environment" such as data centres, clean rooms, business continuity recovery centres and laboratories, failure to accomplish the pre-defined mission can result in lost revenue and exposure to expensive litigation.
A critical environment is also referred to as a "mission critical environment", in which the infrastructure and operations are absolutely necessary for an organisation to carry out its mission. For example, in an emergency call centre where life and death situations are handled, there is zero tolerance for failure. In the corporate sector, business operations, customer-relationship management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and financial and e-commerce are typical fields where operational failure can lead to loss of revenue, customers and consequently credibility. "Network continuity is the key," says Charles Lee, managing director, Newtech Technology Company Limited.
"We design and implement projects to build the infrastructure in critical environments. Our expertise covers IT networking, mechanical services such as temperature and humidity control, electrical services such as uninterruptible power supply, fire protection, physical security, and even plumbing and drainage," Mr Lee adds.
A provider of comprehensive solutions, Newtech has in place a wealth of talent from diverse backgrounds. Specifically, the company excels in the design and construction of infrastructure for the aforementioned critical environments, in addition to IT infrastructure solutions, electrical and mechanical services and intelligent building systems. Space planning and interior decoration are also key areas alongside facility management and consultancy services for ISO27001, which is an ISO certification in information security management system (ISMS).
Primarily, Newtech employees must demonstrate sophisticated communication skills as substantial teamwork and interaction with customers are involved. "We need to communicate with customers to assess their needs effectively. Moreover, the bulk of our work is project-based so we value team players who in turn value team success above their own personal achievements. Educational background and work experience are analysed when we hire new staff," Mr Lee notes, adding that on-the-job training is equally important as formal education.
"The latest developments in the market such as new products cannot be covered thoroughly in textbooks, but the workplace is an ideal forum for comparing the relative merits of innovations. Similarly, solving real problems in real situations doesn't take place in a classroom, whereas in the workplace employees can apply previously acquired knowledge and build on that foundation," he explains.
Since new concepts and products emerge rapidly, continuous learning is encouraged to boost career prospects. "To provide the most optimal solutions for our customers, our staff must keep their skill sets up-to-date," he says.
At Newtech, assistant managers are expected to hold at least a higher diploma plus relevant professional qualifications such as CCIE, CCNA and CISSP for IT infrastructure. Professional qualifications in electrical and mechanical engineering are necessary for staff responsible for power and mechanical services respectively. "Besides IT networking security professionals, we employ physical security professionals because physical security issues such as computer room access and CCTV systems constitute part of the infrastructure," Mr Lee remarks.
Newtech uses a systematic staff appraisal system to establish performance standards, benchmarks and criteria for evaluating staff with a view to helping staff understand their own strengths and develop their potential. Mr Lee says, "Our appraisal system is a great way to get valuable feedback on skills, job descriptions, inter- and intra-team cooperation and company morale. We regard it as an instrument of progress."
Staff performance criteria include specific knowledge, communication skills, teamwork, commitment, account servicing skills and productivity. The system is two-way and open, establishing not only a dialogue between staff and supervisors but also peers. It is forward-looking with scope for discussing employees' future plans.
The company is based in Hong Kong with offices across the Asia Pacific region, covering Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Singapore, Bangkok, Vietnam and Sydney. Due to this extensive geographical coverage, Newtech staff are offered ample opportunities for secondment.
Ahead of the game, Newtech was the first critical environment/IT infrastructure solutions provider in Hong Kong to be awarded the "business superbrands" accolade by the Superbrands Council. "We will adhere to our role as a reliable partner for both our customers and our employees," Mr Lee emphasises.