Bimodal Cloud Ready Composable Cage-Free Organic Gluten Free IT at #GartnerDC 2015

As Matt Baker pointed out last week, many buzzwords can be thrown around the tech space, especially at an IT leader focused event. I’m pretty sure my ‘buzzword bingo’ card was full halfway through the first keynote.  Catchy jargon aside, the Gartner DataCenter conference is chock full of infrastructure technology insights, fantastic guest keynotes, forward-looking sessions, and in-depth IT related discussion.

David Capuccio and Thomas Bittman from Gartner opened up the show with a keynote focused on what they called the “Enterprise Defined Datacenter."  Dave and Tom suggested that when you think about datacenter or IT strategies you should forget about hardware and software, and instead concentrate on the service or the application.  Meaning: your strategy should start at the services you need to deliver for the right cost, the right place, or the right reason.  

Raymond Pacquet took over the second half of the presentation with an emphasis on digital business and the Gartner coined term “Bimodal IT.”  According to Raymond, IT departments who don’t want to be “ubered” need to double down on delivering in digital and be agile.  Bimodal IT, as defined by Gartner, is two distinct IT methodologies: Mode 1 is predictable, stable, available, reliable secure… “Fundamentally what we do.”  Mode 2 is exploratory: “we explore the infinite possibilities of IT and accept a level of failure which can't be in mode 1.”  Crowdsourcing, differentiated metrics, and working with startups were key tactics in Bimodal IT as explained by Raymond. 

The next day’s Gartner keynotes from Mike Chuba and Dave Russell reinforced the focus on digital with an overview of their newest CIO survey:  “This isn’t just the latest fad; digitalization is intensifying.”  They stated that digital is becoming very important to CEOs, who believe it’s an accelerant to the business that they must participate in.

In addition to the Gartner presentations, there were rousing guest talks from Patrick Lencioni of the Table Group and Stephen J. Dubner of Freakonomics fame.  Patrick outlined the steps to make sure your organization is healthy with a hilarious breakdown of the five dysfunctions of a team.  Vulnerability was one of the key factors – the ability to say ‘I don’t know the answer’ and be supported by the team.  Dubner was just as entertaining with an in-depth look at how "the circumstances under which data is gathered have a great deal to do with how reliable it is.” His speech suggested that you first question the how and why of how data was collected before you use it.  I’m not making this up: the speech humorously referenced both turkey and monkey procreation at various points.

Gartner DC has been a rewarding conference for Dell this year. Despite the limited hours for the expo, our booth has had a great deal of traffic, resulting in a steady stream of in-depth conversations.  Both the Lego and ‘IRL’ versions of the Poweredge FX2  (pictured above) attracted quite a bit of attention. Matt Baker’s Future Ready Session was all about digital.  According to Matt, “Digital disruption demands action" and the new disruptive business models are built around relationship-oriented systems of engagement. Matt also shared his belief that “the future of IT architecture is a flexible, compute centric and software based platform.”

The Dell Services Change Management session was packed.  It’s always a good sign when facilities has to bring in extra chairs.  I enjoyed listening to the questions and shared insights from several real world change management practitioners.   Dell also hosted a social event at the Tao Asian Bistro and Night Club.  SMEs got to hang out with existing and potential customers in a more relaxed environment discussing our solutions – and hear that we’ve got a perspective on that composable buzzword too.

I can verify Gartner DataCenter is one of the better IT events to attend.  The topics are insightful, relevant, and attendees seemed to genuinely enjoy the conference overall. There are ample (and heavily orchestrated) networking opportunities.  I had a number of conversations which generally started with a merger related question once it became known I was with Dell.  I joked that I should have a T-shirt made that says “I can’t answer any questions about that thing you are going to ask me about.” 

Did you attend GartnerDC or happen to be following along online?  I’d love to hear your takeaways or answer any questions you might have about the event in the comments below or on twitter.  

About the Author: Jeff Sullivan