Dell Tech World: Perspectives on the Strategic Shifts at Dell

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There were two themes I took from Dell Tech World (DTW). Not surprisingly, they cover cloud and AI.

Theme One: Multi-Hybrid-Cloud is Real.

Call it on-premises/off premises, multi-cloud or hybrid cloud (please, someone figure out the right term because I am really tired of the crazy terminology debate) but suffice to say – it is not about where, but what is right for the workload. Dell is now all in. It announced hyperscaler data storage services and its APEX Cloud Platforms. APEX Block Storage, and APEX File Storage are resident in the hyperscalers’ clouds. APEX Cloud Platforms are to be resident in your data center and cover solutions from Microsoft Azure, RedHat OpenShift, and VMware.

The point is, run what you want with the hyperscalers, but if you need it in your geographic sphere, and want it streamlined, Dell has you covered. You can get the details from our other analyst blogs, but this is the message overall: “Dell supports from ground to cloud and cloud to ground.” Along with the baseline technologies Dell has produced data and the management planes under the nomenclature of Navigator. Of course, this is all wrapped up with its APEX consumption acquisitions models.

Note: There are those I suspect that say that Dell is a bit late rolling this out. On one hand, I would agree, but it is our belief we are in the third inning of the second game of the World Series. We are far away from the end. And it is good to note that Dell’s Data Protection group has been the company’s leader in on-premises and off-premises strategies. Today, Dell protects 17EB in the cloud. Not exactly a newcomer.

Theme Two: AI Will be Ubiquitous

The introduction of generative AI and large language models (LLMs) will create a massive change. While there is significant fear of what this may entail, Michael Dell led off in the keynote at DTW stating:

“Throughout the years we have managed the existential risk of technology.”

Instead of focusing on the large impacts that might lead to the Terminator’s “Skynet,” Michael Dell focused on the power and transformation of discrete use cases.

We see two phases of generative AI. One is the creation of unique, understandable, and guided use cases. The other encompasses very broad societal changes. Dell as a technology firm is initially focused on discrete cases with Project Helix. For instance:

  1. Can I train a language model with all my customer inquiries to improve my customer service bot? (I would be very appreciative if United Airlines took this one on).
  2. Can I load this article into an AI model and get superior SEO?
  3. Can I fix my documentation that is partially incorrect?

These are “small” language models not requiring the full data set size of LLM, such as ChatGPT. It is a view of what can be done by putting Project Helix into the hands of mere IT mortals. Project Helix, a joint effort between Dell and Nvidia, brings full-stack solutions, technical expertise, and pre-built tools with blueprints for generative AI. I know I have massively simplified, but Dell’s new PowerEdge AI offerings along with the Nvidia partnership bring the possibility for on-premises generative AI. In this next year, we will see companies “AI” their knowledge bases and more.

Lastly, while I will not specifically cite the conversation, it is clear Dell is involved with the big issues surrounding AI. In personal conversations, company officials laid out the areas they are concerned about and on which they are actively engaging with the tech and government communities. These areas include managing privacy, the rights afforded copyright and IP and the explainability of the code.

I agree with Michael Dell. We will manage the existential risk of AI. And as with other forms of communication technologies, it will take the full community.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

The Future of AI is Hybrid: Look No Further than Your Devices to Scale Generative AI

Dell APEX Platform Advancements Empower Customers to Optimize Multicloud Strategies and Streamline IT Operations

The Cost of The Next Big Thing – Artificial Intelligence

Author Information

Camberley Bates

Camberley brings over 25 years of executive experience leading sales and marketing teams at Fortune 500 firms. Before joining The Futurum Group, she led the Evaluator Group, an information technology analyst firm as Managing Director.

Her career has spanned all elements of sales and marketing including a 360-degree view of addressing challenges and delivering solutions was achieved from crossing the boundary of sales and channel engagement with large enterprise vendors and her own 100-person IT services firm.

Camberley has provided Global 250 startups with go-to-market strategies, creating a new market category “MAID” as Vice President of Marketing at COPAN and led a worldwide marketing team including channels as a VP at VERITAS. At GE Access, a $2B distribution company, she served as VP of a new division and succeeded in growing the company from $14 to $500 million and built a successful 100-person IT services firm. Camberley began her career at IBM in sales and management.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from California State University – Long Beach and executive certificates from Wellesley and Wharton School of Business.


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