Well, its been a little over two years since the Dell/EMC acquisition, and frankly, I never saw that coming. I never believed in a thousand years that Dell would be capable of consuming EMC (to include VMware, Pivatol, RSA, VirtuStream, VCE, et al.) in a single sitting like that huge 128 ounce porterhouse steak somewhere over in Texas. Maybe that’s where Michael Dell got the idea?
Any-who, it would appear that the Dell & EMC management teams are doing a bang-up job of integrating the Dell and EMC organizations though I really haven’t heard a lot of fanfare around the integration of VirtuStream or even VCE (even though I worked there for almost two years after the acquisition was announced). RSA was always treated with kid gloves as was VMware, so I never expected much integration to take place with these two assets.
The EMC account teams seem to have taken account ownership status, for the most part, to drive enterprise relationships for the mostly commodity based Dell offerings. (I hope I’m not saying anything that is a surprise to anyone reading this blog here.) I saw this coming as I was on the inside of VCE, and the EMC account teams had too much financial clout backing their position for it not to happen any other way. As I’ve heard it said: “Money Talks, Empty Pockets Walk”, or something to that effect.
So now the real money question begs to be asked: “Can Dell Technologies free themselves from the Computer Shopper direct sales days to evolve into a true channel driven sales organization, or will they – like IBM has been known to do over the many decades – continue to eat their own (partners) in search for ultimate customer control? At the end of the day we will have to see if they can evolve into the channel friendly OEM the likes of the HPE and Cisco’s. To be successful over the long term – they must, and I hope Michael Dell is able to resist the intoxicating elixir of selling direct to bypass the channel. If he should succumb, then everything rolls back 20 years and we are back to the days of two inch think computer shopper catalogs filled with a lot of bits and pieces of computer components, but no real business solutions, as the business environment has evolved way past those days of old. Businesses can no longer survive on IT organizations cobbled together with bits and pieces of computer components. Business is moving too fast and demands a much more sophisticated, but not necessarily more complex, set of solutions. Instead of a dealing with a lot more of the micro IT components IT must focus on assembling much larger sets of components, that can be managed as a single larger management domain. Think of pre-integrated assemblies of components. VxBlock is a great example of this aggregation, but there are many more examples available out there in the ecosystem. OpenStack, CloudStack, AzureStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, CloudCenter are but a few of the orchestration and automation stacks that can abstract the micro components from the macro business solution. Software Defined X (compute, storage, networking) can be encapsulated within these larger ecosystems, as well. Enterprise IT must push itself to the level of utter discomfort before a true breakthrough will be achieved, but once achieved, the chains of traditional mindsets will be broken and a new level of illumination will take place within the traditional Enterprise IT organization. On that day, a new vision of “What’s Possible” will set in and now the world of possibilities will be totally new. …and even more of my peers in the industry will be able to look back and say: “I never saw that coming…”