Dell World, Dell‘s conference on IT thought leadership, kicks off on December 12 and is expected to draw thousands to Austin, Texas. This is the company’s second annual Dell World and will be highlighted by luminaries such as former president Bill Clinton, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors ofFreakonomics and SuperFreakanomics, andMichael Dell, Dell’s founder and CEO.
It is a critical point in time for Dell given its state of transformation from a leading PC player to an enterprise infrastructure and cloud player. Conferences like this are very important in solidifying Dell’s position in the IT world by differentiating it as a key player in the enterprise IT landscape.
I had an opportunity recently to talk with Dell’s CMO Karen Quintos about the company’s transformation and its upcoming Dell World 2012 conference.
Like many of the major IT events sponsored by leading IT vendors around the world each year, if you are a mid-sized to large
enterprise business looking to make the most of your IT investments, Dell’s conference should be on your radar.
Tell me about Dell World. Who attends and why? Would you call last year’s event a success?
Dell World is a conference designed for IT execs and CIOs to share their perspectives with each other and also to hear the latest thinking from some of the industry’s top thinkers and visionaries. Dell World is unique as well, in that it’s not a user conference; it’s designed to address top customer pain points and challenges.
This is a smaller, exclusive conference than others, enabling CIOs and IT professionals to interact and network with each other, the speakers, and Dell executives. . In order to best cater to the specific needs and perspective of our attendees, we are offering unique tracks for CIOs, channel partners, mid-market and SMBs, and we have vertical tracks, too.
We were very happy with last year’s inaugural Dell World and took all of the feedback that we received from attendees to make this year’s conference even better. Of course, Dell continues to grow and evolve as an enterprise solutions company and we want to ensure our attendees have an opportunity to learn more on this front as well.
What are some of the key themes and topics to be explored at the event?
We will be hitting the topics that we are hearing most of in the marketplace from our customers and others; the real pain points and opportunities. Most of these are straight-forward but the last one, social media, isn’t addressed enough in IT. We will be exploring virtualization adoption, convergence to the cloud, the consumerization of IT, security, and embracing social media. The enterprise embrace of social media should be more than doing Twitter; it should be about building a brand, designing better products, delivering a better customer experience… and ultimately, making more money.
If I’m a CIO, what’s a “must do” element of the conference that I should put on my agenda plan?
CIOs and IT executives are all unique, but there are a few areas that I’d recommend on their agendas. We are providing content and discussions on using IT as a differentiator and getting the most out of their investments. At the end of the day, that’s what IT is all about.
We also have sessions on digital and social media which can really grow, scale and build strong brands. We are also offering sessions on all things cloud (public-private-hybrid), converged infrastructure, virtualization and emerging security threats.
Do CIOs view Dell as an end-to-end player, or is there more work to be done here?
It’s really both. We have made significant progress changing perceptions to the “New Dell”. In fact, in the last year we have doubled top-of-mind awareness of Dell as an enterprise leader. Regional events have worked really well for Dell where we could get up close and personal with customers. And events like Dell World and a strong public and analyst relations program have helped the company, too.
Our strong heritage in client devices gives us a real advantage in solving problems in the consumerization of IT space. We are uniquely positioned to manage the proliferation of the devices in the enterprise, from an end-to-end solutions perspective.
As the CMO of Dell, what you are you most excited about – personally – for Dell World attendees?
I am excited to bring in a great group of our top customers and technologists to work on solving their biggest problems. Dell is a trusted brand and CIOs and IT executives trust us to solve their problems and not lock them into proprietary solutions. When we speak, they do listen, and we learn from them as much as they learn from us. That is Dell, very direct and engaged.
Onto the Show
Karen was very energetic and determined as she talked about Dell World. While Dell has had success lately with their enterprise strategy, they’re not even close to being satisfied with their position overall, with good reason.
Dell has invested billions into M&A and turned away from lower-margin PC business, which net-net has made the financial results look sub-optimal. But there is a huge opportunity ahead of Dell that they’ve never had access to. With HP’s recent challenges and IBM’s unwieldy size and innovator’s dilemma, Dell sees the conference as one of the most important events they will have in the next 12 months.