Extended Life is changing the game and other takeaways from our Dell OEM leadership meeting in Helsinki

Note from Lionel: Below is a post that Josh originally published over on the OEM Blog. I thought some that a few folks might be interested in some of the globalization aspects that he shared. Here’s his original post:


Sitting in the hotel lobby contemplating the week gone by in beautiful Helsinki. Here, in the country of 5 million people and 1.5 million saunas, the team came together for a three day session on the direction of our OEM business and a review of overall OEM market trends. Some observations and sundry ramblings:

Globalization is not one-size fits all

A key takeaway from this week is that one cannot paint OEM markets around the world with the same brush.

A recent visit to Brazil by a few on the team revealed both a push by our existing customers for help to penetrate this market with our OEM-specific capabilities but also a strong local industry that is pulling Dell to expand our OEM customization capabilities within region.

Out of APJ, we are witnessing a convergence in the marketplace that has us contemplating partnerships with “co-opetitors” as a way to transform their businesses by moving up the software stack and rationalizing supply across their product lines. APJ customers also demonstrate a voracious appetite for high quality COTs as industrial and medical solutions move down the technology evolution curve and adopt standards.

Out of EMEA, we are fielding project requests from across the vertical spectrum. Most notable is the pull from Military/Security OEMs to find reliable sources of supply for fragmented projects being hatched all over the world. We are also seeing exciting projects being conceived around mobility as industrial, security and automotive OEMs grapple with the consumerization of IT.

Emerging Markets are really “Growth-Now” Markets.

The mass of innovation out of Israel in networking software, security technology and medical devices is the driving force behind our business in EMEA “emerging”. Our global footprint and close alignment with partners is proving to be a key one-two punch in our value proposition to OEMs that want to extend their reach beyond the home front. With an eye towards Russia, Turkey, Poland to name a few, our Director of EMEA Emerging emphatically declared that these markets are NOT emerging for Dell at all, but are in-fact “growth-now” markets!

First Article Matters

An animated debate ensued this week around how we manage our First Article (FA) process to meet the growing needs of our customers. Good to hear that most engagements pass our rigorous FA on first pass but I was curiously comforted that we have some highly-complex custom engagements that don’t pass FA – sometimes multiple times! Bottom line is that as our customers push for more customization within our facilities during/post build, we are being forced to apply even more rigor to ensure a flawless solution comes out the front door come game-time. From the mouth of our OEM Executive Director for the Americas, Ron Pugh: “OEM customers want us to approach our operational processes as if we are them.” Well said.

Telco Market is Evolving

As tweeted by @DellOEM last week, the telco market is rapidly overcoming their innovation lag of the IT market and are looking to COTS rack servers, blades and storage as their way to driving business transformation and helping carriers cut opex and capex. As an example, at .5 rupees per minute on the average pre-paid rate plan in India, Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) are compelled to be as competitive with the technology they provide as the markets they serve. And, oh by the way, the Telco Cloud is closer that you think! (I owe you another $1 @franklinatdell)

Customization has a long tail

When discussing how to apply the resources of our team of dedicated engineers and product managers towards custom hardware requests, our Engineering Lead insisted that support for custom engagements does not stop at the product development phase. Our team can spend up to 30% of their time supporting customers BEYOND product launch in a maintaining capacity (handling changes to adjacent components, software and other real-time tweaks).

Basically, custom engagements have a long support tail that require a partner to provide engineering support to run WITH their business – not just to supply their business. ODMs and whitebox, can you do same?


Extended Life is changing the game.

There was plenty of discussion around how we are preparing OEM customers for the transition to our next generation of Dell products coming soon. OurXL program is proving to be a life-saver for OEMs who need to ensure continuity of supply during this transition. Customers have embraced this program across our product line and this how allowed us to approach major transitions as an innovation discussion versus an operational headache.

OEM Storage is about software. Huh?

The future of our customer’s growth in many markets (security and surveillance, telco, media and broadcasting, networking devices, industrial) will be driven, in part, by their embrace of storage technology in their designs to solve the data explosion they have caused. But in order to offer tightly integrated custom storage solutions, OEMs will have to work with their hardware providers to integrate storage software as well. As opposed to JBOD, this is where the true IP is and where end user value-add can be created. Follow our storage specialist, Ray Stahl, in the months to come as he expands on this concept and more on storage solutions for OEMs.


Customer feedback is in our DNA

Plenty of time was spent on how we can continue to improve our Net Promoter Score and close the gaps from feedback provided during our last NPS survey. We also started out planning for OEM Customer Advisory Council #5. Both are coming up this fall!

Technology picks from the week: Liquid Radio and Powerkiss

We heard a presentation from NSN this week about their Liquid Radio solution. It’s all about how they handle high-bandwidth traffic burst on their networks. It’s kind of like cloud for the telco space. Love the name too!

I was also struck by Powerkiss wireless charging. Saw it everywhere and in various forms. Most impressive was this solution that was embedded onto my tabletop while I had my morning coffee.

Other Sundry Ramblings from Helsinki:

  • What’s up with no black pepper on the table in Finnish restaurants?
  • Unreal smoked salmon served with nearly every meal.
  • Loved the Pils Olut while sitting on the deck of Restaurant Paven overlooking the archipelago.
  • Who needs the sun to go down? 2am feels like 7pm this time of year.
  • Saw the super-sleek Nokia HQ. Might be worth a visit next time.
  • Great to have free wireless at Helsinki airport corroborating tweet by @pablocollier
  • 9am on a Friday morning and it took me 7 minutes to get from check-in kiosk to the gate at the Airport. AUS, YUL, EWR, YYZ, DFW – go to HEL to see how it’s done!

Learn more about Dell OEM Solutions at www.dell.com/oem or follow us on twitter @delloem.

About the Author: Josh Kivenko