EMC’s Interesting and Little-Known IT Transformation Workshop

Rob Enderle
Slide Show

Five Trends Shaping the Future of IT

EMC Consulting is an interesting and little-known organization inside of EMC and is a significant part of the company’s $6 billion service unit. I had a chance to get an update from this group this week, and I discovered that there are some interesting, yet not well-known services that they provide to IT shops.

Given how many IT shops are struggling with transformation, the IT Transformation Workshop particularly caught my eye in that it closely resembled a process we’d put in place internally years ago at IBM to transform the company. It gave me a bit of a kick to see that a similar process appears to be having the same success as an external service today.

Twin Goals: Maintain Legacy and Embrace the New

While a lot of ink is focused on supporting and managing new mobile platforms—and clearly that is where the interest and excitement remains the issue for large shops—the big challenge is “how do we manage both the legacy stuff and the new platforms without becoming buried in the resulting complexity and mismatched systems?” In today’s enterprise, we must often deal with the combination of mobile, BYOD, and line organizations going directly to services like Amazon.

Few large shops are getting any budget relief, so they are asking for methods to cut the costs of their legacy support in order to begin to shift focus to these new areas before they become an overwhelming problem.

The Classes of IT

With EMC Consulting, the client is first put into one of three classes:

  • Ready—The client just needs execution help; the shop knows what it wants to do.
  • Motivated—The client knows it has to change and what needs to be changed, but needs help with the process.
  • Undecided—The client is pretty much lost. It knows it must change, but doesn’t know what or how to get there.

The first group, Ready, moves directly into execution with the promise that their transformation can be complete in as little as 28 days. The second group, Motivated, goes through an application-by-application analysis to see if the applications can be moved to a lower cost platform, replaced, or otherwise made to be more cheaply managed. When that is done, they effectively become a “Ready” group and move to the execution process.

The third group, Undecided, gets an IT Transformation Workshop, which should eventually lead them to the Motivated group’s process and finally, to the Ready group’s process.

IT Transformation Workshop

Next, EMC will form an IT Transformation Workshop to help shift IT from their historic organizational structure toward a structure that is more consistent with the world the way it is now. EMC has done around 200 of these workshops globally over the last 18 months. It involves a four-hour session and there is no charge for it (at the moment). Preparation for the workshop requires that the client complete a questionnaire (30 questions), which defines its goals. Also, a C-level executive must assure that progress can be made. Gap analysis is done against EMC’s massive database to highlight where the client is with respect to peers. Then, this is used to facilitate the workshop where, along with the report and initial recommendations, these are refined by the group. A report is then generated that includes all of these elements and forms the basis for an agreed upon, prioritized, road-mapped plan to take IT from where it is to where it needs to be. What makes this a bit different from other workshops is that the focus is on the process and transformation—not on just selling EMC products.  

In a final step, “under development,” EMC comes back a year later and creates a report on how the firm has done against the agreed plan of action.

Wrapping Up

Given that the workshop is free, I actually think it is beneficial for every company looking at transformation. It should help bring to surface many aspects of change that haven’t been identified, assure that there is adequate executive support for the effort, and showcase whether the firm’s objectives are equal to, ahead of, or well behind competitors. It would seem the hours of effort that the workshop requires could prevent potentially massive mistakes in direction and execution that might otherwise occur and have to be redone or corrected.

While there are other workshops, most are focused on moving the vendor’s products and are less “workshop” than focused sales opportunities for the vendor. Customer feedback on the EMC effort indicates that this is not the case with this one, and often no additional EMC sales result from the effort. In fact, sometimes the client firm discovers that it is way overpaying the vendor for capabilities it already has or doesn’t actually need.

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+

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 6, 2015 9:05 AM Ted Ted  says:
Rob, thank you for highlighting our Workshop, it has been a core tool that we use to help our customers align on and prioritize their Transformation Roadmap. My team worked with several groups inside EMC to create and execute the workshop and are now involved in updating it to include more leading edge methodologies, technologies, and frameworks like: Open Source Software; DevOps; Converged Infrastructure; and Application Portfolio Rationalization. Thanks much, Ted Reply

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