There’s a growing sense of urgency among Canadian business as they try to find ways to take advantage of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced globally everyday, and Dell Technologies wants to be the go-to source for the plumbing that helps manage it all, according to Dell EMC executives.
“We know what drives [digital transformation]. It’s billions of devices that are being connected,” said Michael Sharun, president of enterprise sales at Dell EMC Canada, comparing today’s growing data-driven economy to the 1920s when the radio and several other technological innovations suddenly became common items at the workplace and at home. “Just like the last century had the Roaring Twenties, the same things are starting to happen now.”
Canadian businesses can’t afford to approach the new Roaring Twenties with a wait-and-see approach, he added. Cloud is no longer viewed as a last resort by CIOs and IT managers, and even in Canada, where the cloud infection was slower to arrive but has since attracted the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google, the on-demand availability of data storage and computing power has become essential for businesses.
But Canadian businesses haven’t done a great job turning that data into something beyond a pile of raw numbers. The Digital Transformation Index (DTI), a research study conducted by Vanson Bourne last summer and sponsored by Dell Technologies, says Canadian companies are slowly moving in the right direction when it comes to modernization. Only 6 per cent of Canadian business are considered digital leaders, and while that’s one percentage point higher than the global average, it should be higher, said Sharun.
“We still don’t do a good job of actually quantifying a benefit. No one is in this game to just play with technology. It’s not an R&D game. Our customers can’t afford to play around and try to figure stuff out,” he said during a round-table with reporters at Dell’s Toronto headquarters. He was joined by Paul Katigbak, president of commercial sales at Dell EMC Canada. Together they discussed the company’s digital transformation strategy.
Katigbak was adamant that its on-premises infrastructure business has a crucial role to play in the coming years as businesses try to find the best way to make sense of all the data coming from the various chattering devices, many of which are located at branch offices and edge devices.
And since data generated at the edge increaseS the need for storage and processing, it makes the company’s lineup of on-premises storage and processing that much more attractive.
“The biggest thing we provide is an integrated suite of solutions,” indicated Katigbak, referring to the Dell Technologies family that includes Dell EMC, VMware, Pivotal, Virtustream, RSA, SecureWorks, and Dell Boomi, their Integration Platform-as-a-Service subsidiary. “We can supply that plumbing.”
Dell started talking about IoT in 2015, but it was in 2017 when it announced plans to invest $1 billion in research and development over the next three years in that space. It was at that time when Dell also announced the creation of its new IoT division, which will lean on the entire Dell Technologies family.
And while Dell has come to terms with the fact that it won’t be dominating the public cloud market any time soon, its focus has shifted on developing software that manages them. VMware – of which Dell owns 80 per cent – and Dell EMC are partnering with Microsoft to allow Microsoft’s customers on Azure to manage their workloads with VMware’s virtualization software.
“People are using multiple clouds to reduce complexity, and complexity happens in the management and orchestration and the movement of workloads back and forth. So we’re trying to make sure we’re standardizing that viewpoint by leveraging VMware,” he said, while acknowledging the fact that VMware partners with some of Dell’s competitors.
But being “frenemies” with VMware is how industry standards improve, explained Katigbak, and it’s why Dell refrained from outright acquiring VMware in 2016.
“We’re not forcing anyone to buy what we have. We’re providing the choice for customers who have built their expertise with other technologies.”