While a lot of companies will speak to reducing the complexity of IT, very few of them seem to be doing as much about this issue as Dell.
The trouble with large events such as the recent inaugural Dell World conference is that a lot of platitudes easily get tossed about. But when you look at some of the actual products that Dell recently rolled out, a consistent theme related to reducing the complexity of managing IT starts to emerge. For example, Dell recently upgraded its Virtual Integrated System (VIS) software to make it easier to layer a private cloud computing environment on top of existing infrastructure. At the same time, the company is moving to automate many of the data management functions associated with managing storage, while at the same time making it a lot easier to deploy and manage encryption.
What Dell seems to be zoning in on is that as IT systems continue to scale during these economically challenging times, fewer IT people are available to manage more IT systems. Every vendor seems to intuitively understand that issue, but few of them seem to be doing as much consistently about it as the folks at Dell, especially in the midmarket.
Of course, none of this happened overnight. Michael Dell as the CEO of the company has devoted billions of dollars to making this transformation happen. Naturally, some of that focus may just be a natural outgrowth of the company's midmarket focus, which is generally made up of IT organizations that are perennially shorthanded. Whatever the reason, folks all across the IT landscape might want to start paying a little more attention to the server and storage products that Dell, which was once widely considered to be little more than a box pusher, is starting to deliver with more noticeable regularity.
None of this necessarily means that Dell will gain ground on Hewlett-Packard or IBM, but something different is starting to take place in Red Rock, Tex., that could make Dell a much more formidable rival in the months and years ahead.