Michael Dell has the kind of confidence that comes with being the only founder leading a major global technology firm today. It’s the quiet confidence of a visionary who for nearly 40 years has focused fearlessly on the future and has made the big bets required to repeatedly reinvent the company that bears his name.
Dell recounts the journey in his memoir ‘Play Nice But Win,’ but spend a few minutes with Dell Technologies’ leadership team and it’s obvious that this confidence and fearlessness is shared. It’s a cornerstone of the company’s culture, and leaders like Jeff Clarke, Chuck Whitten and Allison Dew are guiding the company through yet another reinvention.
“We’ve built quite a strong culture that we’re really proud of, and an execution machine and performance orientation that has served us very well,” Dell said. “The plot of any organization is to use [data] to create competitive advantage and create success. That requires new capabilities, new tools, new infrastructure. We find ourselves in a great position to be able to help at all layers. Reflecting on 37 years, it’s been really fun, really exciting. I think it’s all just a pre-game show for what’s about to happen for our sector and the role technology plays in enhancing and enabling human potential.”
At a time when Dell Technologies is arguably at its strongest, growing at a breakneck pace and navigating broad market challenges, Dell and his team are not interested in the status quo. They’re focused on progress, from the company’s core business, to its key growth opportunities, to the social, economic and environmental problems challenging the world, whether it’s e-waste or digital inclusion.
The company widened its focus to put itself at the center of the multi-cloud world with a leading position in open ecosystems and an eye toward establishing multi-billion-dollar businesses in edge and telecom, where it says its large market position, tech capabilities and sales reach allow it to stoke growth in ways its competitors can’t match.
We’re continuing our longstanding commitment to ethics and ultimately putting our customers in charge of their own data. That’s as core to us as the PC business.” – Allison Dew, CMO, EVP, Dell Technologies
The APEX portfolio introduced earlier this year brings Dell’s decades-long experience in tailored financial models and leading position in major hardware categories to the burgeoning as-a-Service market. The company is busy expanding APEX globally, and chalking up major wins with customers like FedEx, GE and DISH. One of the world’s largest health care companies is using APEX to get the benefits of a cloud environment with the on-premises infrastructure, security and data management it’s required to have.
“The conversation about public and private is long gone, hybrid is long gone,” Clarke said. “It really is about multi-cloud. If you look at the future architectures of data processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, they are completely dependent on the need to access multiple clouds. Customers that can access multiple clouds and put the right workloads in the right cloud are going to be at a strategic advantage. It’s about a seamless set of solutions that allow us to enable our customers to access these various capabilities that exist in the cloud.”
While Dell’s leaders see strong momentum and huge opportunities ahead, they’ve also been careful to ensure that what’s good for Dell and its customers is also good for society. As the world bounces back from economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dell’s leaders say the company is dedicated to helping customers use the data they produce to make lasting improvements in education, digital inclusion, smart cities and healthcare while combatting climate change and advocating for equality.
“We’ve seen more than ever in the last 20 months the important role that companies play in society,” Dew said. “If you think about what we’re doing around cultivating inclusion, advancing sustainability, the really important role we’re playing around digital access, we’re really proud of bringing technology to underserved communities.”
To help do that, Dell leadership is focused on overcoming several customer challenges, including inconsistent core operations across clouds; a lack of workload portability between clouds; the spread of data silos across multi-cloud environments; inconsistent security capabilities and the need for a single point of support.
The company says its software prowess, as well as the continual development and refinement of its product portfolio, are key to knocking down those challenges. The company made several announcements related to the edge Wednesday, including new solutions aimed at helping to link the physical world with the IT world with particular focus on customers in manufacturing, health care, financial services, transportation and retail. The company also launched several solutions and reference architectures for Telcos.
“We’re not going to randomly wander into places where we don’t have a right to win,” Whitten said. “And our right to win is built on our customer relationships, the trust we build in our core, as well as the strategic advantages we refine in our core. Much of the growth in IT is built on the foundation of our core business.”
“The rate at which the world wants to digitize is now unleashed,” Clarke said. “We’ve spent the last 37 years preparing for this moment.”