Michael Dell, Dell Technologies | Dell Technologies World 2020

Announcer: From around the globe world

It’s theCUBE with digital coverage of Dell Technologies World Digital Experience. Brought to you by Dell Technologies. And welcome back to theCUBE’s coverage of the Dell Technology World Digital Experience 2020. I’m John Furrier, your host of theCUBE. This is theCUBE Virtual. It’s a virtual event.

We’re not in person this year, obviously, because of the pandemic. Our guest, Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies. Great to see him back on again remotely. Michael, sorry we couldn’t be there in person, but thank you for coming on virtually. Thanks for coming on. Great to be with you, John. What a year it’s been.

I want to get your take on how you guys are getting through it, and specifically, you guys have had a great business performance. We’ve seen the results of what’s going on with Dell Technologies, VMware, but there’s a crisis. People need more machines, they need more internet access.

There’s a huge demand for modern applications with cloud and on-premises. Not everyone’s going to be there on-premises. So the workplace, the workforce, the workloads are all changing. But you hit all of them, the consumer from having a great machine to internet access.

This kind of digital divide where people are remote schooling is super important. Can you talk about how you guys are doing, how the company’s doing? How you’re doing, and what you guys are doing to help bridge this new cultural environment of this digital divide? Sure.

So, again, great to be with you, and thanks for all your great coverage at Dell Technologies World once again, this time virtually. I think having a resilient supply chain is always important, but these last eight months it’s been incredibly important.

Demand has certainly shifted

And having secure remote work from anywhere has been a high priority for lots of organizations. I think something like 4.5 billion people was asked to go stay in their homes.

So it was work from home, learn from home, entertainment, E-commerce, telemedicine, everything went online, and I think we got a glimpse of the future, and I think a lot of this actually gets carried forward.

And certainly, the priorities that we’ve been focused on, multicolored, app modernization and containers, the tremendous growth at the edge, data management, software defining the networks, AI, 5G, all of these things I think get accelerated.

So amid the tragedy and the challenges, I do think there’s a great acceleration of the fourth industrial revolution. You brought this up last time last year as well, and, again, everything’s kind of going to be before, kind of after the world, but you were kind of teasing this out last year and I want to get your thoughts because now more than ever.

You mentioned some people don’t have laptops to even do remote work and remote schooling, and then internet access has been discussed for the generation of having more broadband in areas that are underserved. This is a super important piece.

Can you just share some of the initiatives that you guys are taking because I know you guys have some things going on, you’re doing a lot of philanthropy. Again, the supply chains on the business side are super important, but specifically with society, how are you guys helping? Right.

So just in the United States, you’ve got roughly 15 million kids who don’t have either broadband access or a device, and we’ve got a pilot program running to begin to address this, and it’s part of the broader 2030 moonshot goals that we laid out, actually last year, for the next decade.

But I do think what the pandemic exposed

It exposed the fault lines in our society in access to healthcare, to education, to justice, and certainly, we have a kind of digital inequality, right? If you don’t have a device and you don’t have access, you’re left out of economic opportunity, and that’s something we should all be focused on.

We believe our broader ecosystem can make a big difference there, and it’s one of our priorities. Technology has been a big enabler over the years. We’ve talked many times privately, also on theCUBE, around these inflection points.

You started Dell Technologies in your dorm room and now you got kids doing stuff in the elementary, we’ll get to the thing with cybersecurity and space is a big trend and they’re starting early in elementary school, now you got the boardroom and everywhere in between.

The tech trends are the big opportunity, and I want to dig into it and I want to get your thoughts because with cloud computing, gen one, you say check, scale, it matters. But the big wave right now is everything as a service, and so you got to be nimble, you got to be agile.

But that’s easy to say and hard to do. I want to get your thoughts on how you see everything as a service from platform to SaaS, to the developer as a service, to CUBE as a service, to Dell as a service. Everything is becoming a service. What’s under the covers there, because it’s not easy, obviously, automation machine learning.

What do you see? This is going to get us out of the pandemic as more people are agile. Give me your thoughts. That’s right. So, we’ve actually, as you point out, we’ve been at this for a while and if you look on our balance sheet, you’ll see almost $24 billion deferred revenues, so it’s not a completely new idea to us. And we are aggressively expanding as a service.

So our customers and partners can access our solutions any way they want

And we’re committed to making everything that we provide available as a service. One of the things we’re talking a lot about here at Dell Technologies World is providing a consistent experience no matter where customers run their workloads.

And so we’ve unveiled Project Apex, which is really bringing together all of our as a service and cloud offerings into a consistent unified effort. We’re enhancing the Dell Technologies cloud console, and this is going to give customers the power to manage every aspect of their cloud journey, and as a service journey through a simple unified self-service experience.

We’re going to be talking a lot about storage as a service. Storage is always important to Dell Technologies and providing scalable plastic storage resources that can be deployed, owned, and managed on-premise, but owned by Dell Technologies.

And we’re going to bring some updates to the Dell Technologies cloud platform to make it easier, simpler to consume, lower the barriers to entry, and extending our subscription availability.

In the platform businesses and all the people talk about platforms, and over the years when you have a platform business you have to kind of dog food or kind of do it first before the customers dig into using the service.

You mentioned you guys have been doing Dell as a service across your product lines, and we’ve documented that certainly on SiliconANGLE in theCUBE, but now you got to bring it to customers. Can you tell me how that’s going because with the pandemic, some things are obviously, customers need to double down on building modern apps, having programmable infrastructure, as you guys have everything as a service from the Dell site.

Now the customers have to do their part. They have to turn their offerings into a service. Can you take us through trends you’re seeing in your customer base around the pandemic? Is it permanent? Is it cyclical? What’s the customer impact of everything as a service?

I think this is clearly the demand, trend from customers

And, as I said, we’ve been embracing it for some time. One of the reasons we created this Project Apex is to bring it all together because I’d say we want to go faster, right? We always want to go faster.

What you’ve seen from customers in the last eight months is you kind of expose the digitally enabled and the not so much digitally enabled. And a lot of customers have accelerated their progress on their digital journey quite a bit during these last eight months.

We ourselves over a weekend basically said, okay, everybody works from home now. It’s worked really well. There are lots of benefits to that. There are productivity benefits, environmental benefits. And I think we’re all finding ways that we can be more productive, and I think a lot of this will persist after the pandemic.

Yeah, when we were covering VMworld just recently, they had a virtual event, one claim out of that was the 5G trend, and some of the conversations were 5G is not a consumer app, it’s really a business app. Could you share your thoughts on 5G, because it will enable the intelligent edge? 5G is super important.

What’s your vision on how 5G will roll out? Do you agree with it more as a business app, not so much consumer? Yeah. The first application will be, hey, let’s have 5G phones. Great, but you really can’t talk faster on your 5G phone.

So what is it all about? It’s about making things intelligent and having the things talk to each other. They’re going to be way more things talking to each other than there are people. Imagine every arm processor or embedded processor out there in the world. Now being connected and intelligent, the amount of data that gets created.

So it’s really about connecting all the things

And that is an incredibly exciting possibility. Organizations have to reimagine themselves given that future, and 5G will be the digital fabric that allows this new future to be created.

When you look at Dell Technologies out 10 years to 2030, what does it look like? Obviously, you illuminate the internet things and the edge. What’s the vision for Dell 2030? So first I think you’re going to have the autonomous infrastructure. It’s going to be highly distributed on the intelligent edge, and that’s going to enable enormous advances in really all human endeavors.

And Dell Technologies is going to be the essential infrastructure company to power all of this. And our moonshot goals point the way in another sense, where we talk about advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives, and upholding ethics and data privacy.

We didn’t create those priorities for the last eight months, but certainly. The last eight months put a real magnifying glass and exclamation point on their importance. We continue to be super optimistic about the role technology has in the world and the role that we can play in helping customers achieve that.

And the role of cloud, is cloud going to be abstracted away? Is that cloud going to continue to be a big part of it? Cloud on-premise? As these environments look more cloud-like operationally and autonomous, does that kind of go away in 10 years? Do you see that becoming just part of the resource pool? How do you view that?

Well, clouds are infrastructure, right? So you can have a public cloud, you can have an edge cloud, a private cloud. Telco cloud, a hybrid cloud, a multicolored, here a cloud, there a cloud, everywhere a cloud. Yes, they’ll all be there, but it’s basically infrastructure, and how do you make that as easy to consume and create the flexibility that enables everything.

Yeah, and we saw that at VMworld, they had talked about the telco cloud as a trend

We see that everything’s going to be a cloud. Everything will be a service. That’s our view. I want to get your thoughts on entrepreneurial thinking. You’ve always been an entrepreneur, even as you’ve got this massively billions of dollars in companies out there. You’re still innovating.

Right now entrepreneurial thinking is needed more than ever. And can you share your advice to people out there who want to be more digitally enabled, who have to think about the next 10 years?

What entrepreneurial thinking can they apply now? What needs to be worked on and what should not be worked on. So there’s clearly a digital push there. What entrepreneurial tactics. What would you share with the folks out there who really want to be on the wave here and be the digitally enabled position for the future?

And while there’s certainly one trend in consolidation in parts of our industry, there are always new and interesting things happening in the world of technology. And that’s where you see a lot of these new companies being created, and that always excites me.

I don’t see too much of a shortage of entrepreneurial thinking out there, but we can always use more of it because that’s how the world pushes forward when you have people with new ideas. Willing to take risks, capital available to support that risk-taking, that’s where you get new innovation. Yeah, could see the opportunities executed on them.
I want to get your thoughts on AI.

Obviously, as we’ve seen huge backlash on some of the elections here going on, and you got all the tech for good on one side, tech for bad on the other, and everything in between, technology is an enabler and it does have some consequences, but there are some great things going on with technology.

I know you’ve been an advocate for the past two years specifically hardcore technology for good

As AI becomes more prominent, as machine learning and data comes into the picture, can you give your thoughts on where we are with technology for good? What are some of the highlights? What areas do we need to work more on? and how does the role of data and AI play in it? A long time ago, the fire was technology, right?

Somebody came to the village we got this new thing called fire. And it can warm a home or it could burn down the whole village. But overwhelmingly technology innovations have advanced human progress, and I only think it’s accelerating from here.

And as everything becomes intelligent and connected, AI is the only way to be able to reason over all that data. Especially the streaming data in real-time and all of that is going to accrue positively to great human outcomes.
And every business has to reimagine itself, to create better products and services. To create better outcomes for the students, the patients, for manufacturing to create success and competitive advantage. AI machine learning.

These are just tools. There are always going to be challenges, but we as humans have to make sure that the tools are used overwhelmingly for good. Again, I tend to be optimistic. I think the vast majority of people do want to do good things in the world and prevent the kind of worst-case scenarios, but I remain optimistic.

Fire, the wheel, tools. It’s all about the humans running them, and that’s a big impact. Michael, thanks for coming on. Really appreciate you coming on virtually with theCUBE, and thanks for allowing us to be part of your virtual digital experience.

For the final word, just share for a minute what people should walk away with this year

But for the people watching, what should they walk away with this year from the Technology World Digital Experience? What’s the main message? So Dell Technologies wants as ever to be your best partner in the digital transformation.

And we’re investing heavily in multicolored, in the edge, in data management, software defining the networks. Providing the compute to deal with all these enormous workloads with AI, 5G World. Continuing to create this secure work from anywhere environment.

So, again, thanks to our customers and partners for the tremendous trust they place in us. And we’re looking forward to a great year ahead. Well, thanks for everything that you do. I know you supplied a lot of equipment for our kids in school and for businesses and continue to innovate. You’re doing your part with the supply chain World.

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