Digital Transformation, Dell Technologies And The Return Of Mega IT Vendors

Dell Technologies Inc. faces high expectations and scrutiny after the epic $60 billion mega-merger of Dell and EMC in 2015. Thousands of people gathered in Las Vegas last week to hear the progress and vision of Dell Technologies at Dell EMC World. The conference theme, Realize, focused on IT strategies that enable companies to deliver digital transformation. The topic is top of mind for both business and IT leaders. While most business leaders have jumped on board with the concept of digital transformation, companies struggle to define what it means and how to enact change.

The formation of Dell Technologies is indicative of a major market transition. Instead of dealing with one major IT or business transition, companies face a multitude of simultaneous organizational and technology changes. At the same time, established companies face intense competition from new entrants that have cheap access to robust technologies such as cloud services. Organizations, regardless of size, must embrace mobility, cloud computing, IoT and new analytics solutions. Established companies must understand how, and where, these major technology trends will intersect. Successful IT efforts will focus on integrated strategies, not isolated technology islands. For example, cloud impacts your mobile strategy with access to scalable infrastructure and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions. Companies can also purchase SaaS apps or use cloud-based development tools to modernize existing applications.

Companies need strategic vendors that can aid navigating these tectonic shifts.  Dell Technologies, a series of seven companies integrated under one umbrella, aims to provide a more integrated suite of services. Yet, it’s not alone. Oracle, Microsoft and others are expanding portfolio offerings to include everything from applications through cloud computing infrastructure. At the time, the merger that seemed crazy.  Today the results of the merger seem on point because companies want to:

  •  Consolidate the vendor landscape. With a multitude of technology and business model changes underway, vendor proliferation and IT complexity have skyrocketed. Companies have been forced to become systems integrators that must integrate and coordinate development cycles from multiple technology providers. IT must find a simpler way to approach digital transformation. Business leaders are returning to the strategic partner model with the best of suite.
  • Modernize applications. Digital transformation requires changes to applications, processes and employee behavioral changes. Companies are looking to the cloud, open source PaaS and SaaS to update apps and improve workflows. Dell noted how important assets such as Pivotal are for creating apps at companies that range from the size of start-ups to Google. But Dell also highlighted how companies are building hybrid infrastructures to support app modernization and how it’s well positioned to provide those solutions.
  • Secure the entire IT stack more effectively.Companies like Dell have numerous touchpoints where it assists companies in building security into the hardware and infrastructure stack. For example, many companies have purchased specialized solutions from over 45 security vendors. While no company can offer a single suite to address all security challenges, Dell can ease some of these woes by delivering security that ranges from the laptops through to the data center.

The Dell Technologies vision promises simplicity but is it a reality? I had the opportunity to speak with and listen to cases studies from numerous Dell-EMC customers at the event. Thus far, customers claim it’s working. For example, Molina Healthcare told me the sales process has been simplified, and that unlike other IT vendors it works with, Dell is easy to do business with. Citi spoke on how they are using Dell infrastructure and virtualization solutions to provide business agility while simplifying complexity. Jaguar and Nike discussed how Dell Technologies was providing new ways for companies to design better products and deliver improved workplace services.

Dell Technologies shared its plans for integration and innovation across all of its units. While there’s a great deal of integration work to be completed, Dell’s private company structure affords the luxury of a reasonable cadence of change. Still one of the greatest ongoing challenges that Dell will face is the ability balance innovation with integration. It’s a challenge all mega vendors and their customer’s face. It will be interesting to watch the progress of traditional IT vendors as these providers engage in their own digital transformation.

Maribel is the founder of Lopez Research, a market research and strategic advisory firm. She’s the author of the Wiley book “Right-time Experiences” Twitter:@MaribelLopez   This article was originally posted on Maribel’s column for Forbes.com  https://www.forbes.com/sites/maribellopez/2017/05/16/digital-transformation-dell-technologies-and-the-return-of-mega-it-vendors/#6d66820e46aa