DSA sat down with Barbara Robidoux Dell EMC’s SVP of Marketing for Services and IT at Dell Technologies world in Las Vegas. Her role is two-pronged with services being the implementation and consulting services that are provided to Dell EMC customers on a chargeable basis. However, there is a more interesting side of Barbara’s role which focuses on marketing Dell’s own internal IT.
Barbara highlighted that Dell is a company of 60,000 IT users and communicating IT changes and transformation to these users is a really important part of her role. Much of the Dell conference had been focused on talking about Dell’s four pillars of transformation (IT, Digital, Workforce and Security transformation). Barbara pointed out that in addition to helping customers on their transformation journeys, Dell themselves are in the midst of their huge transformation, it is her responsibility to communicate internally and externally about their journey.
It became clear that Barbara is passionate about the fact that customers and clients can benefit from the shared learnings of the experiences of Dell’s own massive internal IT capability. She makes a compelling case for just how relevant Dell’s own transformation experiences can be for helping their customers. “When you think about it, we are a manufacturer, a technology company, a retailer, an online e-commerce company, a software development company and even a finance company” Her point being that Dell are living the journeys of many companies in many verticals and their knowledge can be shared.
To this end, Barbara explained about a program Dell has been successfully running for some time called “IT Proven Engagements”. This is where Dell's customer get to have a meeting with Dell internal IT in an “IT practitioner to IT practitioner” dialogue.
Robidoux reiterated that there is no sales or marketing involvement in the meeting, it’s a chance for customers to chat to Dell’s own IT people about their own hands on IT experiences. It's not just about Best Practice. While Dell internal IT can advise on best practice, they are also happy to share where they didn’t get things right so that others can avoid similar pitfalls on their journey.
Barbara explained that Dell internal IT engaged in 2000 “IT Proven Engagements” last year and are hoping to double that this year. She does concede that they use Dell products and technology wherever they can, but the nature of these calls is as much about process and methodology, it's not about promoting or “selling” a specific technology.
(Note from Editor: Given Dell are trying to encourage companies to accelerate transformation, it makes sense that these engagements are completely agnostic. Customers that make decisions to move forward with transformation projects are likely to engage Dell sales people when that happens. However to be absolutely clear, the IT Proven Engagement sessions are delivered with no commitment or obligation required.)
Robidoux explained that the kind of questions that come up in these sessions are less about product and often about people and process transformation. Things like “How do you run your business and systems and still manage to free up time and money to undertake transformation projects” or “How are you able to keep your software developers productive while retraining them”. The point is that, Dell like many of their customers are working through or have worked through these questions and problems and often done so at scale.
The IT proven engagements are not only for Dell’s largest customers, any customer that would like to have the chance to have one of these sessions is welcome to request it. According to Barbara, even if you only have a hundred employees but as an example want to discuss best practice and pitfalls for a VDI solution, it may be possible to get an “IT proven Engagement organised”. The first step would be to approach your account manager locally.
It was great to see a company being so open about “drinking their kool aid”, we have no doubt about the value of these IT Practioner sessions. If you are reading this and manage to get one organised, don’t be a stranger, get in touch with us and let us know how it goes!