The four pillars of transformation, namely Digital, IT, Workplace and Security Transformation, have been one of the main focus areas here at the Dell Technologies World. The messaging from David Webster, Dell EMC’s President of Enterprise Sales & Customer Operations for the APJ region, whom we had the opportunity to interview during the event, largely mirrored that which has been said by Michael Dell himself earlier this week – in that the whole conversation or focus when it comes to IT has shifted from a mere technology-centric perspective, to delivering business impact through data driven outcomes.
“If you look at business today, I think what’s happened is that IT has shifted from being an operational system, which used to count money and measure performance in a retrospective manner, to now being an enabler of competitive advantage and competitive differentiation. So, the conversation now with companies is way broader than just IT,” David said.
While the conversation among customers, or enterprise IT consumers, are changing, David pointed out that there’s also a lot of change happening on the vendors’ side. In order to help customers transform, vendors like Dell EMC inevitably have to change how they do business, think about the conversation differently and embark on their own transformation journey. On Dell EMC’s transformation, he commented, “We’ve been spending a lot of time on skilling our whole organisation around a value proposition, which is transformational in focus, and is business outcome oriented. And like all transformations, it’s a journey. If we stayed static and our customers are looking to transform, we wouldn’t be adding a lot of value to them. So for our company, part of the transformation is Dell and EMC coming together, part of the transformation is how we engage with our customers and partners, and part of the transformation is the business impact that we can deliver to our customers.”
David stated that one cannot have a digital strategy without having an IT strategy. Digital disruption or digital transformation is predicated on having the right IT infrastructure to enable transformation to occur. However, at the end of the day, choice is what’s important as different organisations are on different journeys and in varying stages of change. “We believe that fundamentally, all customers are slightly different. You can have a customer that wants to build by using the best servers with the best storage and the best network, and you’ll have a customer in the same industry, of the same size, that will be taking a completely different strategy, preferring to buy a hyperconverged infrastructure and simplify, for example. For us, it’s really important that we satisfy those different dimensions and give customers choice.”
With a broad portfolio across servers, storage, PCs, networks, etc, Dell EMC’s capacity to provide customers with the freedom of choice is certainly one of the company’s strengths, or competitive differentiator, according to David. “I think choice is really important. We don’t believe that any one product can do everything. [Referring to the aforementioned example] Converged infrastructures are very suitable in certain circumstances, high performance servers coupled with special storage arrays are very suitable in other circumstances. What we’re actually seeing across Southeast Asia, APJ and the world is that enterprise class customers are doing both.”
David then elaborated on that point. “They’re not making a decision in a binary fashion because in reality, the workloads they’re dealing with today need a certain infrastructure and architecture. The workloads they’re planning for the future are completely different. You’ll get a situation where our customers are modernising their existing infrastructure and they may choose a server play there with software-defined. And then you’ll get a customer who wants to build an infrastructure for software development to build modern apps – and they may choose a hyperconverged infrastructure. The same customers may also want to run their database infrastructure on a standard set of servers with storage attached. Therefore, it’s really important that as a partner of those customers, we have an ability to go where they want to go. So, our strength is our breadth of portfolio.”
Speaking from a more local perspective, David mentioned that analysts foresee a 1.3 trillion-dollar digital opportunity in every industry sector in APJ over the next five years. Thus, the business imperative is for companies in the ASEAN region to take advantage of that digital opportunity and embrace a digital future. From his own observation, David stated that even in this region, businesses are increasingly looking to technology to deliver business outcomes and effortless customer experiences. So, Southeast Asian companies are commonly going to Dell EMC not only for product, but also for strategy and direction. As David put it, “IT used to be part of the business. IT is now the business.”