Dell World Keynote: Go Big or Go Home, but Build for the Future

Rob Enderle
Slide Show

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

As you would expect, the opening of Dell World had a lot to do with the announced EMC merger. The goal is for Dell to build the biggest IT infrastructure company in the world. Michael Dell’s opening keynote focused on the power of the EMC merger for the company’s future and present success. It remains one of the few firms that has found a way to become successful while building a company that can anticipate the future.

Interestingly, the final guest at the keynote was Satya Nadella from Microsoft, who talked about their joint project in the cloud. The two companies announced a combination of Azure and CPS to provide hybrid cloud solutions for organizations of all sizes. Dell and Nadella also spoke about how they both were excited about Windows 10 and then spoke to the fact that both firms now build competing PCs (some of which Dell will resell). So, as big as Dell plus EMC will be, the point is that the company’s future will still be largely defined by some of its largest partners. This showcases a breadth from client to cloud that is currently unmatched in the market.

Let’s talk about the specifics of the rest of the keynote.

The Merger: It Will Be Dell + EMC Not EMC Destroyed by Dell

In the opening, Michael Dell pointed out that with the merger, Dell becomes the leader in 22 of Gartner’s magic quadrants. No other company will have that kind of leadership and breadth. One of the interesting things about this is that unlike other large mergers where the acquired company was buried and destroyed by the merger process, Dell is highlighting the unique qualities and powers of each current and soon to be aligned company: VCE, VMware, RSA, Pivotal, Virtustream and, of course, EMC.

There are two elements to the success of this venture, according to Dell. One is the ability to maintain the value of the firms acquired and the other is taking the company private to become master of its own destiny. By going private, Dell has been able to increase its patent generation massively. As other firms are laying off people, Dell is massively hiring; the firm’s Net Promoter and Engagement scores are apparently hitting all-time highs.

It isn’t hard to see a sharp contrast between firms like HP and Dell. While Dell is pulling off the largest tech merger in history, HP is attempting one of the largest layoffs in history. Here is the amazing thing: Dell should have its merger done before HP’s layoff is complete.

While Dell pointed out the advantages of each of the EMC units, he also maintained that his competitive advantage is to supply end-to-end solutions, from the client up, by being the only firm that has this scale.


Dell Partnerships and Success Stories

Looking at the breadth of Dell + EMC, the world will be heavily instrumented. Dell argued that at the heart of this will be the IoT gateway that was developed with Intel that will now be backed up with the mass of resources that EMC and Dell provide to analyze that data. Dell highlighted the partnership between Statistica and Microsoft Azure to analyze some of this data and create powerful answers to as yet unanswered questions.

InMobi, one of the leaders in marketing analysis out of India, was brought to stage to talk about its solution. The company has 1.4 billion unique users, which is second only to Facebook in terms of reach. InMobi started in India but has spread worldwide, moving to North America two years ago. Until it began working with Dell, the company was having significant problems getting various parts of its technology to work together. Dell came in and said it could fix that problem and InMobi is now a full Dell shop. It now bridges advertisers and users successfully and is able to better predict what the users want in terms of ads, with the implication being that its ability get users to buy is exceptionally high, which is driving its massive success. As a side note, its suggestion of how the company will be using massive improvements in analytics to significantly improve conversion rates (i.e., converting watchers to buyers) suggests we may want to start locking up our credit cards when we go online.

The next company up was Fat Tire/New Belgium Brewery, which spoke to how Dell’s end-to-end solutions uniquely helped the company grow to the size it has become. The company was highlighted as one of the newer companies that really need an IT solution that it doesn’t have to worry about, because the people there just want to make beer; they don’t want to have a strong second skill in technology. The company owners want their vendor to do that.

Cloud Infrastructure

According to IDC, Dell is the number-one cloud infrastructure company even before the acquisition of EMC. It didn’t just do this alone; the company has partnered with firms like Microsoft, VMware and Red Hat to complete its solution, believing that the hybrid cloud is the future. Boomi delivers 1.6 billion cloud transactions a month, and DocuSign, the leader in digital document signing, moved to Boomi to correct huge problems it was having. DocuSign is apparently very pleased with the solution and Dell has invested in the company and its solution has been integrated into Dell’s solution set.

(A side comment that I thought was interesting is that not only does Michael Dell drive a Tesla, but Tesla is a big customer of Dell’s.)

PC Business

According to Dell, 600 million of the PCs in the market are over four years old and ready to be replaced. The company is really excited about Windows 10 and is on its 11th consecutive quarter of year-over-year share growth. Apparently it has 1,200 Dell PC stores in China and represents that the company is outgrowing every one of its competitors. Dell announced its Pro Deploy suite of services, which ranges from a comprehensive suite of support services to a full outsource, where you pay for the PCs as a monthly service.

Being Future Read

Coca-Cola was the reference company brought on stage to talk about its relationship with Dell and it was the CIO who spoke on the subject. The company is using Dell broadly and the money it has saved is being funneled back into the company. Looking forward, it plans to use massive sensor networks to better monitor traffic and then create a more predictive system tied to an Uber-like delivery model to improve stocking and massively reduce costs.

Security

Cybercrime is an industry working at web scale. This problem is substantially increased by the BYOD effort, where devices that aren’t managed or controlled by IT can become carriers for viruses, gateways for hackers and remote-controlled monitoring devices for hostile agencies. Dell has a series of Dell Secure Works announcements at the show designed to specifically address this problem and these will be enhanced by the RSA and AirWatch solutions it is acquiring with EMC.

Wrapping Up

The sheer mass of the company that will result from the Dell + EMC merger is mind boggling. I doubt there is any other company with the skills needed to pull it off. It is Dell’s unique acquisition process that has the capability to assure that the result won’t be a train wreck.

The closing part of the presentation was by Karen Quintos, Dell’s CMO, about its massive effort with the United Nations to empower billions of entrepreneurs worldwide and the company’s fastest growing segment: women entrepreneurs. Dell feels that if it helps companies get started, they will grow to become loyal Dell customers.

You know, I go to a lot of these events, but this is the only one that showcased a major focus on investing in future companies. This is perhaps the real value in having both a founder still running a firm of Dell’s size, while having the firm private. The company can anticipate the future and assure that it has a future, because it is aggressively building it. Most of its peers are struggling to get through this quarter. No wonder EMC, which has been hounded to break up and sacrifice its future for a one-time stock pop, wants a piece of that.

Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, a forward-looking emerging technology advisory firm.  With over 30 years’ experience in emerging technologies, he has provided regional and global companies with guidance in how to better target customer needs; create new business opportunities; anticipate technology changes; select vendors and products; and present their products in the best possible light. Rob covers the technology industry broadly. Before founding the Enderle Group, Rob was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group, and held senior positions at IBM and ROLM. Follow Rob on Twitter @enderle, on Facebook and on Google+



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