After two and a half great years as Vice-President & General Manager of Dell Large Commercial Accounts in Germany, I recently moved to head up Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions in EMEA as Vice President and General Manager. I’m excited about the chance to dig deep into a different area of our business, and cannot wait to embrace the new opportunities and challenges ahead!
The same but different
What are my first impressions? I’m struck by the fact that the classic Dell and OEM business are similar in so many ways and yet quite different. Of course, both are about serving customers and providing the right IT technology. When you boil it all down, everything we do at Dell is all about helping our customers stay relevant and successful.
Embedded in our customers’ business
The question is, what’s different? Ultimately, I think that the whole question of relevancy becomes even more pronounced in OEM. After all, our technology is not a cost overhead for the customer – rather, it becomes a profit center.
If you think about it, customers engage with us at the solution planning and design phase – we work to integrate our technology with their IP, assist with any compliance and regulatory needs, optionally rebrand the systems, pre-install software images, integrate third party hardware, certify the solution, offer global build and distribution at our network of factories, manage the infrastructure lifecycle of the project, plus provide support on a regional or global scale. We are effectively partnering in bringing the customer’s solution to market.
Importantly, in OEM, our supply chain physically interlinks with that of our customers. We become literally embedded in our customers’ product solutions and by extension their business model and marketing strategy.
Relevancy drives success
For me, this notion of staying relevant is key to survival and success. Indeed, we’re walking, living proof of that maxim. I just have to think about my own personal experience. Twenty years ago, I joined Dell as a green, young intern. It was honestly one of the smartest decisions I’ve made. I was so lucky to join the right industry and the right company at the right time. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed so many different opportunities to learn, develop and progress that it feels like I’ve worked in at least ten different companies!
And of course, over that same time period, Dell has also made many smart decisions. We’ve transformed several times over in response to changing customer needs and evolving market conditions. We’ve never stuck our head in the sand, afraid to embrace change. We’ve never accepted the status quo and stayed content in our own little rut.
A disruptive force in the market
I’ve seen the company evolve from a PC company to an infrastructure solutions company, disrupting the market for the benefit of customers, offering servers, storage, workstations, networking, rugged systems, services and everything in between. I think it’s that ability to turn on a dime that keeps us relevant.
However, here’s the thing. While we have transformed our own company positively in the process, we’ve never changed just for the sake of it. Our motivation has always been to help our customers stay relevant for their customers. At the end of the day, I believe that relevancy is what matters – it drives success, creates margin and keeps employees happy. After all, everyone wants to make a difference and feel pride in the company they work for.
And of course, over this same time period, the pace of change in the marketplace has dramatically accelerated, particularly in the last few years with business models being digitally transformed through the power of IoT.
For example, one of our customers, Brembo, has transformed its business model for manufacturing high performance brake systems for supercars and motorbikes. The company has begun integrating all PLCs and sensors installed in its manufacturing lines, collecting information during the brake production period. This allows it to gain DNA from each caliper and disc and integrate that information into big data, enabling the analyst to improve the quality and efficiencies of its brake systems. The data collected from each plant is used to see how Brembo can make the production process more efficient, optimizing the outcome of what they produce.
New career paths
These changed digital business models are also translating into new and exciting career paths. In parallel, lines between industries like pharma and IT are beginning to blur. As a result, a lot of young people struggle to know what to study. Relevancy is again a big driver. The big question is, if I study this course, will there be jobs when I graduate?
As a father of two children, I understand this dilemma. All I can say is that my love of technology started as a teenager, when I helped to provide technical support to my mother’s medical practice. And so, my career advice is simple – study what you love and what you feel passionate about. If you do, work will never become a chore, you’ll excel in what you do, and the rest should hopefully follow.
A positive force for good
Of course, I know from first-hand experience that it can be tough to always feel relevant. For example, when I ask my sister – a doctor – about her day and she tells me she saved a patient’s life, my work seems to pale into dim insignificance.
However, I remind myself it’s all about perspective. I might not directly be saving lives but nonetheless, the technology Dell is helping develop and implement is actually helping doctors and scientists better identify cancers, implement the most effective treatment regimes, address climate change, launch rockets, measure crop growth and conduct deep sea exploration. For example, read here about the work we are doing in DNA analytics with our partner HybridStat and how we helping explore new frontiers here with The Arggonauts from the Fraunhofer IOSB.
And so, I believe that the work we do at Dell is making a positive difference to society. The truth is that IT technology is a big driver in human progress and a huge force for good. In my view, Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions is at the very vanguard of that movement. Under my leadership, rest assured that the team and I will work hard to remain relevant and become even more embedded in our customers’ product solutions and business models.
What role do you see technology playing in society? What is your advice to young people starting out on a career? Do join the conversation. I’d love to hear your comments and questions.
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