Expectations for Dell EMC World 2017: Is it One Company or Two?

event_speaker.jpgDell EMC World 2017, or DEW -- which I honestly hope does not catch on as the acronym/nickname -- is just around the corner. To prepare, I wanted to pull together a short summary of my expectations for the event.

With this event taking place only a few months after the 2016 event in Austin, it is difficult to have high expectations in terms of new technology or a new product introduction. But honestly, I have reached the point with Dell EMC that I expect new technologies to be there when the market needs them. If there isn’t a ton to announce this year due to the short time between this event and the last Dell EMC World, I expect there will be a larger announcement next year. That being said, Dell EMC could certainly surprise me. The combined firm has a wealth of smart engineering talent, so if any company could produce a few new offerings that quickly, it would be Dell EMC.

What I really want to see from Dell EMC World 2017 will be more subtle and likely difficult to spot. I am more interested in the trajectory of the Dell and EMC business integration on the enterprise side. It is going to be difficult to see, though; Dell EMC executives are smart folks. They will say all the right things. They will get a question on how the integration is going and they will smile and say, “wonderfully,” or “it’s done,” or something similar. To better understand how the work is really proceeding, I plan to focus closely on three things:

  • The Event’s Format: Will it cover predominantly the former EMC portfolio? Or will equal time or at least sizable weight be given to the former Dell server and networking solutions? Will the format focus on multiple products and data sheet statistics, or will the content focus on guiding the entire enterprise through the digital transformation?
  • The Story Line of Dell EMC World: Will the story line be broken up by product lines? For example, will there be a single message about how Dell EMC is the infrastructure leader for the new multi-cloud era of business? Or will product lines delineate the message, e.g., here are some new EMC storage products and now you will hear from the Dell folks on servers and networking?
  • The Audience: What is the expectation of the customers that will attend? Will it be a mix of old Dell customers and old EMC customers, or will we see customers of the combined Dell EMC portfolio? What does the audience want to hear -- a single message or multiple product updates? Will the two groups intermingle?

 I wrote about this when the acquisition/merger was first announced. As separate companies, Dell and EMC had radically different cultures for very good reasons. Building a successful server and workstation business takes different skill sets than building a successful enterprise storage business. One goal of the acquisition was to combine those talents and build something greater than the sum of the parts, to deliver something more than either company could do on its own. Even after all this time, it is probably naïve to expect that both companies would be seamlessly integrated at this point. (I mean, their websites are still separate. There is a server button on EMC.com, though. So that’s something…) I am not expecting seamless, but I do care about the trajectory. And I am guessing that Dell EMC customers care as well.

 

Topics: Storage cloud data storage dell-emc Dell EMC World