Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my first Dell World event. Situated in the heart of Austin, a city known for its live music, 6th street, and food trucks, it certainly made for great ambiance throughout the event. Dell World is an IT conference focused on services and solutions which provide businesses the ability to accelerate innovation. During the few days I spent taking it all in, I had the opportunity to spend time surrounded by visionary IT leaders through keynotes, breakout sessions, and a Solutions Fair. After having this experience, I wanted to share some key takeaways with you.
First, the post-PC era that the media keeps taking about… is a farce. While it is true that the mobile market for tablets and smartphones is strong, the PC industry is not in decline; in fact it grew 4.3% in the last year! If there were any doubts about the value of Dell staying in the PC business, then Dell’s 19.7% growth in PCs sales should put those doubts to rest. As Michael Dell stated, they are in and in to stay!
Security was a hot topic throughout the event, specifically compliance with best practices in cloud security, as more and more cloud solutions are born. Nowadays, you can simply punch in your credit card and have an online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, file sharing platform, or access to business analytics in a matter of minutes. The fact that these solutions are so accessible creates many issues around business data security. Protecting your business’ intellectual property from the risks of shadow IT (solutions deployed outside the IT department where in most cases the IT department is unaware of their existence) becomes as important as ever.
While there is no smoking gun to spur the development of a solution for this issue, there are a couple of things that can be done to help limit a company’s exposure. The IT department certainly plays a role in adapting and maintaining business IT solutions that eliminate the need for the unauthorized adaption of Shadow IT methods. This requires that the IT department have policies in place when Shadow IT solutions are discovered, as well as a deep understanding of the IT solution requirements of each business unit within their organization. This is fundamental in ensuring business data does not run rampant outside the confines of the organization. That said, as cloud solutions mature, we can expect to see more emphasis on proper identity management and advanced data encryption within these products to ensure compliance and prevent data loss.
Another key takeaway that I wanted to share was the underlying theme of the keynotes: that there was potential for dramatic change ahead. Instead of requiring investment from banks or venture capitalists, new ideas today can be fully realized and brought to market through non-traditional means, such as crowdfunding In addition, analysts predict that between 2010 and 2020, the number of users connected to the internet will go from 1.8 billion to as high as 3 billion and one could almost think of that as 1.2 billion newly connected minds. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of X Prize described it as, “…the greatest period of innovation ever!” Co-Authors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of The Second Machine Age said we are simply in a warm up period: “We haven’t seen anything yet”. What this means is that an abundance of opportunity is upon us. Not just in IT, but across all areas of industry throughout the world. What an exciting time to see what is coming next!
Dell sure put on a fantastic conference. It wasn’t just about Dell and what new product they had out this year; it was about every aspect of IT as a solution to enable their customers. What I admire about Dell is that over time they have systematically filled in the gaps in their products and services that customers need or will need from an IT perspective. It is clear to see that through a consistent message that resonates throughout their entire leadership team, Dell can set their sights squarely on the future to support their customers into the next decade of innovation and disruptive change. It certainly is great to be partnered with a company that is this forward thinking. I can’t wait to see what’s in store!
Director of IT