When people ask what most excites me about working for the largest privately owned technology company in the world, they are often surprised to hear that my answer focuses not so much on IT itself, but rather the vision emerging technologies are capable of providing to those companies willing to think innovatively.
In the age of digital transformation, the human/machine partnership has opened vast new channels for organizations to push the boundaries of what technology can do to help them expand their corporate reach. But this can only be accomplished when decision makers are able to properly read the blueprint for turning the chaos at the center of digital disruption into opportunity, and that means teaching them to focus not on what technology is, but what it can achieve within their organization once properly integrated.
Struggling with the pace of change
To be sure, committing to a successful digital transformation can be a daunting task for members of the C Suite, who must by necessity keep one eye focused on making sure the lights stay on. As an April 2018 IT transformation maturity study commissioned by Dell EMC and conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) illustrates, the majority of today’s organizations recognize the power of emerging technologies to increase their bottom line, but are unsure as to which solutions will give them the best return on investment. The study showed that transformed organizations are more than 2x as likely to report exceeding their FY2017 revenue goals, contributing to a 2.5x greater likelihood to believe they are in a strong competitive position. And yet, a majority of companies surveyed around the world say they lack the transformation needed to remain competitive with more agile and advanced industry peers.
So why the disparity? To put it bluntly, most modern organizations still think of IT in yesterday’s terms – as a provider of email, networking, data storage and backups. But when properly understood, today’s technology is capable of so much more. The wealth of possibilities at the heart of the human/machine partnership have transformed IT from a simple service provider into a trusted business partner capable of reinventing business models, extending an organization’s reach and influencing long-term strategies. In many ways, modern IT has so deeply integrated itself into today’s market that every company is in some way a software company, regardless of the goods and services it offers or the field it is in. Take banking, for example. Who uses paper cheques anymore? And soon, who will use cash? Before we know it, everything will be done online.
From science fiction to strategic solutions
The chaos brought about by digital disruption has led to a culture of confusion among executive decision makers. They are increasingly aware that once futuristic solutions such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and machine learning are now coming into their own as field-tested tools capable of ushering in new methods for productivity. However, they are unsure how to incorporate this potential into their business. This is where we at Dell Technologies come in, and this is where my job gets interesting.
In order for an organization’s C Suite to understand the true potential behind these cutting edge solutions, we as IT providers must translate these technologies into tangibles that represent the ways in which they can specifically benefit our customers. To do this, we help them to create and realize innovative business ideas through the use of coded software that sits on solid hardware foundations. Rather than asking what a particular technology does, we want our customers to think about what they wish to accomplish, and then devise new ways of orchestrating emerging IT solutions to realize their goal.
A great example of this is Columbia Sportswear, who wanted to drive their time-to-market for customer inspired clothes by increasing their ability to collaborate between design and production departments across different sites. To help them do this, Dell EMC and VMware worked with Columbia to successfully modernize its infrastructure and take advantage of an array of new initiatives in 3D modeling, shared via the cloud. As a result, they can now get a product from their suggestion box to shop shelves in under two weeks.
Similarly, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), a part of Coca-Cola, wanted to create greater transparency and standards across its worldwide network of franchise bottlers that manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute Coca-Cola products to millions of consumers. By transitioning its SAP applications to the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, DellEMC helped BIG devise a customized system where its bottlers can now literally “pay by the drink,” granting each individual entity direct control over managing its own costs as well as full transparency into its data.
Locally here in the UK, we are committed to helping both businesses and the Public Sector build new offerings based on technology, modernize processes using technology, and create new customer experiences through the use of technology. The possibilities are limitless.
Making the most of the human/machine collaboration
When most of us look at an airplane, we do not think of the series of engines, ailerons and rudders that go into how it flies. Instead, we focus on where that plane will take us on the next step of our journey.
For modern organizations, the same can be said of emerging technologies. By investing in the future and partnering with machines and the solutions that power them, forward thinking companies will find themselves perfectly positioned to push the boundaries of what IT can do. In doing so, they will themselves be prepared to reap the benefits of what technology can do for them, be it in terms of furthering the company’s reach or bolstering its bottom line.
This enables both parties – us as a technology provider, and our customers who use these solutions to extend their vision – to drive one another to achieve something that is greater than the sum of its parts. And that is what any good partnership is about.
I find that incredibly satisfying.