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Michael Dell: To remain successful, Dell Technologies must 'be bold'

Austin American-Statesman logo Austin American-Statesman 10/13/2021 Kara Carlson, Austin American-Statesman

Dell Technologies is investing in innovation as it looks toward new frontiers — and the technology needed to fuel them.

The Round Rock-based technology giant is working to innovate in a number of areas, including the edge computing market, 5G sector and telecommunications, company executives said Wednesday during the annual Dell Technologies Summit.

“We know that what has worked for us in the past is not necessarily going to be the things that allow us to succeed in the future," CEO and founder Michael Dell said, "so we're actively reinventing the company, once again, for the future."

The summit comes shortly after the release of Michael Dell's book, “Play Nice But Win,” which details his life, his company's growth and the ups and downs he experienced along the way. 

Michael Dell has remained heavily involved with the company since he founded it in 1984, and has served as CEO for the majority of its history.  Dell Technologies has grown into one of the world's largest technology companies and is one of the largest private employers in the Austin metro area, with more than 10,000 workers in Central Texas. 

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Michael Dell predicted technology will play an every-growing role in addressing a number of key issues, including decarbonization, the circular economy and inclusion and diversity.  

“Reflecting on the past 37 years, that's been really fun, really exciting. But I think it's all just the pregame show for what's about to happen for our sector, as technology plays into enhancing and enabling human potential," Dell said. 

The company said it is investing in edge computing through a number of products in its infrastructure and PC portfolio.

In very simple terms, edge computing is computing that’s done at or near the source of where data is produced. The technology is designed to help organizations more easily and quickly deploy and capture valuable data.

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"We have to continue to solve the unsolved problems that customers have. We have to really listen and understand what those needs are," Michael Dell said. "We have to be bold in our reinvention and our investments for the future."

The company has in many ways been a winner during the coronavirus pandemic, with strong demand and revenue growth as more people work and learn from home. 

Jeff Clarke, Dell Technologies' co-chief operating officer, said the company will be focused on three areas of modernization moving forward. The first will be modernizing how Dell builds on-demand edge technology that allows customers to consume technology and services on demand. The second will be modernizing development capabilities and product delivery capabilities, especially in software and cloud technology. The third area of focus will be on how to bring a cloud-as-a-service model to organizations. 

Clarke said the pandemic has forced Dell Technologies to ask itself how it can help customers in new ways. It also has brought to the forefront how complex IT issues can be, and how prevalent security and cybersecurity threats are. 

"The pandemic has forced all of us to figure out how to work differently. Our customers have had to reinvent their business, and as a result we're trying to bring a digital experience to their customers," Clarke said.  

Chuck Whitten, Dell Technologies' other co-chief operating officer, said the company's core business remains critical, and that Dell won't wander into places it "doesn't have a right to win."  

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"Much of the growth of IT is built on the foundation now of our core business. You can't have AI or smart cities, you can't have a telecom revolution, you can't have a data revolution, unless you have modern computer storage and modern IT platforms’" he said. "Winning in our core business gives us a right to go disrupt adjacent markets and build new growth markets." 

The company also announced a number of products — from laptops to data platforms — that can be enhanced with edge technology.

“Let's say you're into AI, drug discovery or you're into autonomous transportation, or you're into the metaverse or the blockchain. All these things have one thing in common, and that is an enormous amount of data, and the amount of data in the world just keeps growing," Michael Dell said. 

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The company also announced plans for new telecom software and 5G technology designed to support the growth of data from an increasingly widespread 5G ecosystem. The company's new software will be designed to help telecommunications carriers manage the computers in their networks. Dell Technologies already also makes hardware that is used in these types of networks.  

The new products add to the company's as-a-service strategy and goal of being a one-stop provider for on-demand technology capable of changing as needed for the evolving business environment. 

Michael Dell said the key to innovation and solving unsolved problems is listening to customers' needs and being bold in reinventing and investing in the future. 

"Companies like ours really exist to solve those future problems. If we're successful doing that, we'll be around for the next 37 years and beyond," Dell said. "If we don't do that, we'll be gone." 

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Michael Dell: To remain successful, Dell Technologies must 'be bold'

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