DATACENTRE.ME celebrates its 10 year anniversary
DATACENTRE.ME and Caroline Hitchins are synonymous. When we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of DATACENTRE.ME (DCME) we are also congratulating and acknowledging the dedication and tenacity of its owner and founder Caroline.
The DATACENTRE.ME website launched on 8th December 2011 to provide a free information portal for the data centre industry. With its core functions being the free online directory, events listings, news and training information, the website soon became a firm favourite with data centre professionals. The original design of the DATACENTRE.ME website may be familiar to many as the site only underwent a redesign in 2019 (and then again in 2020) which made the website much more modern & mobile-friendly. The bright, bold design that we see today is easily identifiable and reflects the vibrancy of the DCME Team and what they offer to the industry!
The images above show how the original DATACENTRE.ME website looked
Throughout its growth over the years, the DATACENTRE.ME website has maintained free access to the online directory for data centre-related businesses. The levels of website sponsorship have been intrinsically linked to improved visibility throughout the website and the ever-popular DCME social media communities. Over the years, DCME’s social reach has expanded with Caroline now being personally LinkedIn with well over 10,000 industry professionals.
DCME's personal approach to making connections, coupled with tirelessly looking for opportunities for & synchronicity with sponsors, continues to sit at the core of the business. Despite having already had a successful career in corporate events, Caroline actually never set out to run events. It is ironic therefore that the events have now become the backbone of DCME's offerings, after Caroline was talked into running a “one-off” event by her contacts! Having no desire to run conferences & exhibitions, Caroline saw much more value in the power of networking, so took the plunge and ran the very first DCME face-to-face networking evening in central London on the evening of Thursday, 19 September 2013. 130 industry VIPs registered to attend and 118 turned up on the night. By limiting the vendor presence, this meant that there was an emphasis on the end users which added maximum value for the event sponsors. With huge support from sponsors and guests, the DCME events quickly became quarterly affairs which have gone from strength to strength over the years.
First DCME networking event in London, 19th September 2013
The global pandemic during 2020 & 2021 posed a considerable challenge to DCME as the face-to-face events could no longer take place. Rather than being defeated, Caroline and team members Nikki and Ruth adapted and launched DCME VIRTUAL which was a fully interactive online conference & exhibition which was readily supported by many companies in the form of speakers, sponsors and attendees. The virtual environment offered an informative international conference programme, interactive virtual exhibition booths, CPD training and networking for the industry, all during lockdown. The first virtual event took place in October 2020 and was so successful and well-received that a second was held in April 2021. The DCME VIRTUAL conference & exhibition has now been diarised as an annual event to cater for international guests and professionals who otherwise would be unable to attend any DATACENTRE.ME face-to-face events. The 3rd DCME VIRTUAL will take place on Wednesday 22nd June 2022.
The DCME team has fluctuated throughout the years:
- Nikki, who was a colleague of Caroline’s at a previous company, became the very first team member in Summer 2012 and quickly became an essential member of the DCME team. Caroline has been known to remark that without Nikki she would be drowning in lists and forever adding to her little black book. Nikki ensures all the DATACENTRE.ME contacts, invites, name badges and personal details are up-to-date and GDPR-compliant. She also ensures that Caroline always has the right lists of people to invite to attend events.
- Ruth worked with DATACENTRE.ME as a sponsor for many years, representing her previous employer at DCME events and assisting on the registration desk at the DCME events. When Ruth left this employer and became available in 2018 Caroline knew she would be an ideal addition to the DCME team. Exercising her creative flair and amazing organisational skills, Ruth quickly settled in, becoming intrinsic to the team.
- Sam joined the team in late 2020 and has brought with her a wealth of organisational excellence, incredible attention to detail and superb communication skills.
- Most recently, the team has welcomed Richard on board. Richard has an in-depth knowledge of the data centre industry which he displays when identifying essential news for the DATACENTRE.ME news portal. He also brings with him exceptional inter-personal skills and vision for growth potential of the DATACENTRE.ME platform in the years to come.
Although the team, the website and the events have gone through various iterations in the last 10 years, the DATACENTRE.ME values and ethos have remained constant. Caroline says it best:
“We believe that we provide some unique services to the data centre industry. Bringing data centre professionals together in a fun environment where business connections can grow is a real joy.”