In early May, we will have the first Dell EMC World. What expectations do I have; and what will I be looking out for?
No big event these days happens without a bunch of product announcements, “wall-to-smoke-and-mirror” hype, and a big name musical act. All this is of course intended to reward the thousands of faithful users who make the trek to the desert…but for me, while the product news is of course vital, none of these constitute the underlying fascination of the show. I realize that what I’m about to write may seem intensely at odds to an industry so beloved of facts and figures, but I really want to get a “feel” as I pace the seemingly endless convention center corridors, and numb my bum in numerous sessions of many varieties (from “general” to “breakout” to “whisper suite” to “reception” and so on).
After all, I can get the raw facts from a press release or website…but I can’t get the emotions, by which I mean the level of confidence, the extent of genuine integration, the strategic buy-in, and so on. By the way, these things come from all the constituencies at the event—our hosts, the users, partners, and my peers. To add some specificity about the particular topics that I’ll be focused on, of course I want to see continued clarity around the storage portfolio and its direction (that is still my “beat” after all), especially as this was the major area of product overlap when these two IT industry behemoths came together. Beyond that, for me, it’s all about discovering and distilling the emotional connection that all the various constituencies exhibit about the overall strategy—whether they are preaching it or receiving it. I expect Dell EMC will talk a lot about a hybrid world (everyone does these days, or else they are trying to defy gravity) but will do so from the perspective of “transformation”…this is borne of logic but also from knowing (a) that ESG just completed work with Dell EMC on just this topic—how to measure, evaluate, drive, and achieve “IT Transformation Maturity”—and (b) the fact that Digital/IT Transformation is all over the event website.
Now I will say that I’m not immune to some of the other attractions laid on for us. While the number of [especially Vegas] events that my job compels me to attend has made me somewhat desensitized to massive screens and enormous sound systems, I will admit that on reviewing the agenda I was intrigued to see a “special appearance by David Blaine” and am hoping I get to attend the session by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, outlining his views on the future intersections of technology and humanity.
Back to the main track (so to speak). When you go to the main website for the event you are met by a word in very large font: REALIZE (yes, the first part is indeed bolder). I always love deconstructing—or at least playing with—the words and phrases that big vendors choose to use as themes for their events; whom is Dell EMC hoping realizes what? Users regarding the sheer breadth of the combined company, and presumably being able to make its promise manifest? Market commentators regarding carrying the message about all the new products and capabilities? Or perhaps it is the Dell EMC people themselves regarding the fact that this really is all real!? It is all those potential realities about which I want to divine and capture the real emotions; because that is how things—however much we like to pretend otherwise—ultimately get realized.