Dell Technologies Is Livin’ On The Edge

Panel discussion at Dell Technology Summit.

I attended Dell Technologies Summit 2019 last week in my hometown of Austin Texas. Forgive me if the headline sounds like an Aerosmith song, but the emphasis on this year’s event was decidedly on the edge. There were several strategic announcements, but I would like to take a closer look at the ones that align with my focus area as a networking infrastructure analyst.   

The edge

In his opening keynote, CEO Michael Dell stressed the importance of the edge, and communicated his belief that new use cases are poised to ripple across Wi-Fi and eventually 5G networks. What is the edge? It seems like it’s the wild west today with respect to different interpretations of the edge; new buzz words such as “fog” and “near/ far edge” further confuse matters. Basically, edge places compute, storage and networking resources close to the data creation point to reduce latency and improve the overall customer experience (we’ll get to that point soon). Mr. Dell believes that the Dell Technologies portfolio of companies are best positioned to capitalize on the edge revolution and it’s hard to find fault with his logic. One only has to look at the success of companies such as VMware, which is driving software-defined networking agility through its NSX platform, and RSA, which is doing the same with world-class digital risk management and cyber security solutions.

In one breakout, I was also impressed by a deep dive on edge solution innovation at Dell. The overall strategy spans cloud, client, infrastructure and service provider. Four proof points were shared in support of Dell’s capabilities. Dell Technologies Cloud solutions deliver a fully managed platform that can be acquired as a service for organizations that don’t have IT staff to manage edge resources. Dell Unified Workplace Solutions provides lifecycle management aimed at accelerating digital transformation by reducing cost and complexity of devices at the network edge. Dell Extreme Scale Infrastructure spans the traditional centralized data center (DC) but scales out to support MicroDCs and NanoDCs for edge applications. Finally, Dell Service Provider and Telco solutions help deliver 5G and edge infrastructure that enable real-time digital experiences to the end point level.

Customer experience for the win!

As it is with many of Dell’s competitors, Customer Experience (CX) was a focus at the event. It was referenced in several of the breakouts that I attended. Dell contends that CX has the power to unify go-to-market activities, deliver the right integrated solution, simplify procurement, optimize delivery and bolster loyalty. I wholeheartedly agree and believe Dell can execute on CX given its direct relationship DNA dating back to the early days of Dell, Inc. (when I was an inside sales representative). In his breakout, Jim Ganthier, SVP of Customer Solutions Strategy and Advocacy, spoke about facilitating the sale and delivery of all Dell Technologies solutions through a single purchase order. That’s compelling and will arm salespeople across the Dell Technologies companies with a cross-selling superpower.

Wrapping up

CFO Tom Sweet stated in his keynote that 98% of the Fortune 500 are served by the Dell Technologies portfolio of companies. That was a “drop the microphone” moment for me at the event. With its pragmatic approach to edge innovation and a CX strategy that adds customer value and simplifies solution acquisition, Dell Technologies is well positioned for future success.