When Michael Dell kicked off this year's Dell Technologies World, he made some bold statements about how technology (and by default Dell technologies) is changing humanity in more fundamental ways than ever before.
While the Dell staffers we met around the conference share his vision, few ‘lean in’ to it like Dmitri Chen, Dell’s COO and VP for Specialty Sales in APJ. Dmitri not only shares the vision, but you can also sense from his palpable enthusiasm that he fully intends to play his part in making that vision happen.
This vision is not just a big leap forward for Dell as a company; it’s a big challenge for Dell’s sales teams too. To be blunt, helping a large company transform its entire mode of operation and business is a far cry from supplying desktops, servers and storage. The skills and knowledge required to help a business reimagine itself demand an understanding of deep business processes, application development and delivery as well as cloud business models to name a few, and this is why Dell needs a “Specialty Sales” team.
As Dmitri explains, Dell still places great value on sales people that have deep product knowledge on specific lines like servers or storage. However, when the general salesforce come across companies that need assistance with reengineering their business operations with infrastructure redesign to facilitate that aim, that’s when the specialty sales people are brought in to help.
Dell’s specialty salespeople go deep into the supporting technology that customers need to underpin redesign datacentres for the digital economy, build and leverage vast data analytics projects and protect data wherever it might be.
From a customer perspective, this makes sense. Dmitri explained that his team are expert in understanding these transformative technologies in the context of Dell itself and also from a more specialised business level transformation perspective. Dell’s clients find this combination and application of knowledge very valuable.
We questioned Dmitri on the fact that some of the announcements coming out of the conference showed that the vision does show a reliance on VMware as the foundation. (As an example the new PowerProtect full feature set requires VMware). Dmitri was politely unapologetic for this. He explained that factually if you have a large environment and need to run and protect 3000 critical workloads on a multi-cloud framework, VMware is the most simple and proven way to achieve this.
Perhaps more pertinent, he also pointed out that in his experience, customers in the region who are wrestling with taking ideas from the line of business through to IT are trying to scale back from working with hundreds of suppliers to working with just a handful of trusted partners. His point being that Dell’s approach to leverage their best of breed products to deliver end to end capability is something that customers want and are requesting.
Dmitri feels that the Specialty Sales team has some unique relevance in the Asia market. He referred to leapfrog opportunity in the region, where many emerging nations have nowhere near the same investment in legacy connectivity architecture and as a result, can jump straight to implementing 5G without having to retire existing legacy investments in advance.
Dmitri is excited about the opportunity in the region, even more so he is genuinely excited about the life-changing impact he, his team and his customers can have as they leverage the technology and data together. He gave a compelling example of a project in Australia where Dell has partnered with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) to build a massive scale computing system to assist in CSIRO’s deep learning capability. The results are beyond the typical ‘we reduced delivery times by, or we improved productivity by’. Dimitri shared that one of the first beneficiaries of this partnership is CSIRO’s Data innovation network Data61. Their computer vision group develops a bionic vision solution. By processing massive databases of images, to feed the bionic eye, incredibly they are starting to restore vision to those with profound loss of site.
When we absorb what Dmitri explained, we start to see just how the computing power that Dell provides is assisting researchers and data experts to achieve things that could be described as miraculous.
Dimitri finished up with a great analogy that helped position Dell’s Edge to Core to Cloud strategy in a way that clearly shows where they're heading. He likened his handphone to today's enterprise, telling us it is multi-cloud as it uses numerous apps on numerous clouds. It is hybrid cloud; for example, Netflix stores some data on his device and streams other data direct from their cloud. He can add and build applications that run seamlessly on his platform, and even though many of the applications and data he uses reside on other clouds, he still needed to upgrade his platform (phone) several times, as he needed increased processing power and memory to handle ever more complex and data-intensive applications.
Dell is providing knowledge, infrastructure, analysis and development tools to take the most complex of enterprises and allow them to be run as seamlessly as his phone analogy.
If you need the platform to reimagine your business, Dmitri will tell you that he and his team are the people to accompany you on that journey.