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Dell Technologies World 2019 – An Interview with Michael Dell – How Integration Should Happen Automagically


Disruptive Tech Asean was part of a group of six journalists from Asia invited to spend half an hour with Michael Dell to get the views from the top man on the announcements made during Dell Technologies World 2019.

By way of background, Dell Technologies World is the “whole Dell family” event held in Las Vegas. All the companies from the Dell family are present, with of course Dell, Dell EMC and VMware holding the centre stage. Fifteen thousand people attended the event from all over the world, including over 4000 Dell partners and also 250 journalists from across the globe.  To be one of six journalists invited to the inner sanctum of the show to get a chance to fire questions at the main man himself was an opportunity we were keen to take full advantage.

As you would expect with someone whose words hold such weight, Michael comes across as slightly more guarded than the “one down from the top” execs that we interviewed earlier in the show. For Michael, he can’t just fill in the gaps if he isn’t sure, as the impact if he sets a wrong expectation can be far-reaching. This combined with the fact that six journalists fighting for 30 minutes of time means its near on impossible to delve deep on any question, makes for a slightly frustrating time as usually, it’s the follow-up questions that give the insight, but we didn’t get chance to ask those!

All that said, this is the man that took a dorm room business to become arguably the worlds most successful tech infrastructure vendor, and along the way put together the largest acquisition in tech history. So, when you get the chance to see and hear him at close quarters, you listen closely for the nuggets. Below are the four golden nuggets we took away from our time with Michael.

VxRail is “Automagic”.

As Michael explained, many of the large customers he speaks to have made it clear to him they don’t want to be systems integrators anymore. He explained how VxRail converges all the technology that companies spent lots of time configuring and integrating (Server, OS, Storage, Cloud Integration, Networking) into one very tightly integrated simple to manage platform. You implement it and it all happens automagically.

(Note to self: Hold on, did Michael just create a new word I have never heard of before? After checking the audio recording multiple times, yes he said automagically.)

Golden Nugget Number 1 – Automagically says it all, based on what we saw at the expo, VxRail is the magic ingredient that is going to underpin things like Dell Cloud Platform and Datacentre as a Service.

The VMware Ecosystem is Critically Important.

Michael was asked if he plans to make VMware a wholly owned element with the Dell Technologies Family. The answer we got was an emphatic “No”. Michael pointed out how if we attended the VMware World event, we would see a show even bigger than Dell Technologies World. Michael was clear that the VMware ecosystem is critical to VMware’s success. He believed that it was important that VMware retained its independence in order to remain valuable to that ecosystem.

Golden Nugget Number 2 – When it comes to VMware, the man at the top “gets it”.

Dell Help Companies Prepare for The Digital Age

When you have such a vast company, which Michael pointed out to us is now a US$91 billion company, how do you define your purpose? While Michael wasn’t specifically asked that question, he did tell us that he and the team ask the question, how do we help our customers prepare for the digital age?  According to Michael, Dell’s goal is to do just that.

Golden Nugget Number 3 – We heard a lot about from edge to core to cloud, but this idea of helping customers prepare for the digital age is the business goal that sits above the technical vision.

The Last Mile Happens Locally

Good and bad here. Michael deflected questions that were localised to South East Asia. Obviously, we would have preferred he answered directly. But he was straight down the line in telling us he didn’t feel it was right to answer when he doesn’t feel like he is the most knowledgeable person we could speak to when it comes to very geographic specific questions. However, what he did tell us was the teams on the ground are charged with localising the business, working on the last mile. Golden Nugget number 4 – The man at the top seems to believe in empowerment and the value of letting people in the country and region make decisions to keep the company relevant to local demands.

We had not had the chance to meet Michael before, his time was precious at an event like this, so giving up even some of that time to meet with tech press from Asia tells us something about how hard he is still prepared to work to get the Dell Technologies’ messages amplified far and wide. We came across a man committed to the business, straight talking and prepared to say, “I’m not sure”. We shared in these four golden nuggets how the biggest voice at Dell feels and thinks about some key areas of his business.