DTW18 & Connecting The DoTs (Part 2 of 3)
LAS VEGAS: As usual, there was a lot to see and do at this year’s Dell Technologies World, so I’ve selected a number of analysts’ comments to provide a better synopsis of the week’s events. First up is the digital transformation research, released in April, that set the stage for DTW18.
“Companies today need to be agile to stay competitive and drive growth, and IT Transformation can be a major enabler of that,” said John McKnight, Vice President of Research, Enterprise Strategy Group. “It’s clear that IT Transformation is increasingly resonating with companies and that senior executives recognize how IT Transformation is pivotal to overall business strategy and competitiveness. While achieving transformation can be a major endeavor, our research shows ‘Transformed’ companies experience real business results, including being more likely to be ahead of the competition in bringing new products and services to market, making better, faster data-driven decisions than their competition, and exceeding their revenue goals.”
Another research initiative resulted in last week’s Built to Adapt Benchmark, a ‘quantitative framework of indicators that gauges how well an organization builds and operates software’ from Pivotal. According to the survey of more than 1,600 of the world’s top organizations in six countries and across five industries, software release velocity does not meet business needs:
-38% of organizations polled report deploying code on a continuous, hourly, or daily basis;
-50% only deploy code on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis;
-37% of apps were built, or have been refactored, to run in the cloud; and,
-20% of software launches and upgrades were delayed due to defects.
Patrick Moorhead, Founder and President of Moor Insights & Strategy, noted that the event started well, and built from there. ‘One of my biggest takeaways from Day 1 was that Dell Technologies is more connected than I have ever seen before … which is very powerful to customers and partners.’
He was equally positive about the various product announcements. ‘From machine learning to hyper-converged, to VDI, The Dell Technologies family continues to make progress, and the industry is better for it.
Moor also credited Michael Dell for leading credit ‘Dell Technologies to be a much more interconnected and valuable company while maintaining best of breed components. This is very hard to do. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in enabling, optimizing and getting revenue from the software-defined datacenter and the future of work, but I am liking what I am seeing.’
Jason Bloomberg, President, Intellyx, believes that the event proved that the company had ‘largely succeeded in rationalizing a complex, diverse product line’ but that digital transformation posed a challenge for Dell. ‘There is one bright light in the extensive Dell Technologies product line that promises to connect the vendor’s infrastructure story to its customers’ transformation efforts: Pivotal. Pivotal is the company that largely drives Cloud Foundry, the open source platform-as-a-service that is cloud-native, container-centric, and DevOps-friendly – while the rest of the Dell Technologies story is data center focused, hardware and virtual machine-centric, and places the cloud into the hybrid IT context as VMware extends into public clouds.’
In the emerging customer-driven world, IT complexity, legacy technologies and large, diverse products lines are no excuse from ‘delivering delightful customer experiences’, said Bloomberg. ‘Every company – enterprises as well as the vendors that serve them – must step up to the plate in order to put the customer first: not just their customers, but their customers’ customers as well. Without such customer centricity, ‘digital transformation’ is nothing more than words on a page.’
ESG not only worked with Dell (and Intel) on the DT research, but had an army of analysts attending the event, including Senior Analyst Bob Laliberte. ‘On the networking front, one of Dell’s key pillars for a modern data center, Dell continues to evolve its disaggregation story (Network OS and Network Hardware) for scale-out data center and campus environments’, with one of the new proof points coming from VMware, which announced it will now leverage Dell networking hardware solutions for its NSX SD-WAN appliances, as well as launching its Virtual Cloud Network powered by NSX solutions.
He said the company has made ‘solid progress in the last 2 years roughly and is now looking to accelerate its pace of innovation to create the right solutions for its customers. I expect to see tighter integration across the Dell family portfolio (especially for networking) to deliver wider reaching, even more comprehensive solutions while simultaneously ensuring it is still easy to do business with.’
Another ESG analyst, Scott Sinclair, commented on Dell’s efforts to expand the DT story through its entire technology family, although he didn’t see as much as he was looking for. ‘While I had hoped for some larger announcements in this regard, it is important to remember that these things take time and Dell Technologies is moving in the right direction.’
On the new product front, he said the big ones were related to the PowerEdge options and the PowerMax (a high-end VMAX). ‘With PowerMax and PowerEdge, Dell EMC takes a huge stride in augmenting the high-powered tool set available to today’s IT organizations. The performance these products offer will likely play a major role in enabling businesses to proceed with their own digital transformation activities.’
ESG Senior Analyst Mike Leone examined Dell’s data analytics (specifically AI and ML). ‘I’m loving how they’re making this year about analytics – providing organizations with the means to make better and faster decisions by taking data across all products and turning massive amount of information into business intelligence and insights in real time.’
He also took at look at the company’s CI and HCI (converged and hyperconverged infrastructure) initiatives. ‘The latest iterations of VxRail and VxRack software-defined data center (SDDC) –- Dell EMC’s turnkey appliances and rack-scale systems co-engineered with VMware — can help provide customers at varying levels of IT transformation and cloud maturity with a way to accelerate their paths to the VMware multi-cloud.’ While these announcements may not be as futuristic and forward-looking as some of the AI and ML topics Leone discussed, ‘they’re all part of Dell EMC’s concerted efforts to help modernize enterprise infrastructures to meet enterprise goals of being more operationally efficient while enabling organizations to embrace a hybrid- or multi-cloud approach.’
DISCLAIMER: I hold shares in many of the companies referenced in this article, and Dell looked after airfare and hotel while I was at Dell Technologies World.