Michael Dell and the Dell Technologies leadership team are confident the strategies they’ve developed, including the direction of its APEX portfolio, will allow the company to thrive amid economic headwinds without taking its eyes off its mission to develop a seamless, outcome-focused technology experience for customers.
In fact, these two key topics discussed by Dell, Vice Chairman and Co-COO Jeff Clarke, Co-COO Chuck Whitten and CMO Allison Dew during Wednesday’s Dell Technologies Summit broadcast go hand-in-hand.
“It’s not our first rodeo,” Dell said, noting that his namesake firm’s supply chain, global support capabilities, as well deep customer and partner relationships, have helped the company weather periods of economic turmoil throughout the 38 years since he founded it in his University of Texas dorm room. “We know how to emerge stronger from this,” he said.
Today, with its growing APEX portfolio and a focus on multicloud ecosystems that link core, cloud and edge environments, Dell is deepening its customer relationships as those customers focus more on outcomes and “simple ways to more quickly drive more transformation inside their businesses,” Dell said.
And while economic headwinds are obvious to all, the tailwinds provided by customers’ desire to do new and exciting things with the vast amounts of data they’re producing has Dell Technologies focused both on helping customers weather the storm today and on playing a leadership role in establishing a simpler, healthier, safer and more successful world in the coming decades.
“Anything you want to do that’s interesting or new or exciting in the world,” Dell said. “Data is the common denominator, and that is an enormous tailwind for our continued growth as a business.”
The company refined its multicloud strategy and launched a slew of new and updated storage products at Dell Technologies World in May, and Wednesday announced Project Frontier, an edge operations software platform that helps customers simplify, optimize and scale edge applications in a secure way, as well as expanded Microsoft Azure Stack HCI solutions.
At the center of the company’s efforts now and into the future is “APEX, APEX, APEX,” Dell said. Dell Technologies has steadily built more and more capabilities into its multicloud as-a-service APEX portfolio, from public and private cloud to cyber recovery and backup services.
Amid frequent and costly cyberattacks, customers are looking for help with security, and Dell said the company’s mission is to make security easier for customers.
“We’ve been building security throughout our products and supply chain for decades, but now we’re stepping it up with Dell trusted devices and trusted infrastructure solutions to make it easier for customers to adopt Zero Trust practices throughout their environment,” Dell said, highlighting cyber resiliency assessment services, and services to manage, detect and respond to threats, as well as Dell’s flagship Cyber Vault, which is available through APEX.
“At the end of the day, our roadmap is defined by customer requirements,” Dell said. “More and more of our customers want to drive to a flexible consumption model and an outcomes-based approach”
Whitten said simplicity and consistency are key for customers: “Ultimately, what customers are asking us for is a simple, consistent cloud experience across their multicloud, multi-edge, multi-data center environments,” he said. “And they want to be able to consume infrastructure multiple ways.” He noted that customers tend to move from buying infrastructure to subscribing to it and then toward having it all managed for them by Dell.
The flexibility and simplicity of APEX solutions can help customers reach long-term goals, and can also play a role in helping them through what may be a rocky economic period in the short term.
“Customers are looking for ways to dedicate more of their spend and more of their energy to the things that actually drive differentiation for them,” Dell said. “Whether it is pre-configured appliances or APEX cloud services or other consumption-type models, all that is helping them along that same path. Some of the discussions have shifted from growth to cost given the economic challenges out there, so customers are even more focused on, ‘How do I point the limited resources I have to the challenges that really make a difference?’”
Long-term, Dell Technologies leaders see APEX as much more than a way to buy the company’s products and services. They see APEX as an overarching problem-solver “across a customer’s estate,” Clarke said. “It is our multicloud answer and the underlying architecture of what we’re building in the company.”
For Clarke, multicloud is the aggregation of many clouds in a way that allows them to work as a single system. With software to manage things like Zero Trust security at scale, services, applications and automation, the company can apply the same technology concepts across clouds to solve customer problems from remote mines to community hospitals.
Customer relationships make these things possible, Dew said. “We start with our products, with reliability, support, an emphasis on security and then carry that through to our emphasis on who we are around ethics, trust, privacy and really making sure those parts of our ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] goals are really foundational to who we are,” she said. “We help our customers weather this really complex environment, and we continue to be a company our customers and partners are proud to do business with.”