InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:26:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Why is PC as a Service (PCaaS) All the Hype? https://infocus.dellemc.com/john_moody/why-is-pc-as-a-service-all-the-hype/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/john_moody/why-is-pc-as-a-service-all-the-hype/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:15:48 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34947 Lots of buzz in the industry about “As a Service” models for procuring personal computing devices (PCs). It’s estimated that about 3-4% of PCs today are purchased as a service and predicted to shift to over 20% by 2020. (IDC MCS Study, Feb 2017) Every time you are tempted to react in the same old […]

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Lots of buzz in the industry about “As a Service” models for procuring personal computing devices (PCs). It’s estimated that about 3-4% of PCs today are purchased as a service and predicted to shift to over 20% by 2020. (IDC MCS Study, Feb 2017)

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.                      – Deepak Chopra

 Rebooting the PC Lifecycle

The interest in as a service spans all sizes of businesses. But for our customers, it’s about a lot more than just a purchase option. It’s about how they can simplify the entire process of buying, managing, retiring and refreshing their PC assets – you might refer to this as rebooting the PC lifecycle. Throughout our history, Dell has won by commoditizing business models and processes, so this is a natural evolution that we can help our customers with. Dell PC as a Service (PCaaS) is designed to enable our customers to alleviate the burden and costs of procuring and managing PC’s by providing a flexible, technology-enabled solution in a predictable price per seat model.

So Why the Hype? Shift to Business Transformation

Are customers realizing actual savings when they move to a comprehensive lifecycle model? According to Forrester research and interviews with real customers, customers can save up to 25% with Dell PCaaS (Based on the Forrester® Dell Client solutions cost estimator tool commissioned by Dell and Intel. Estimated savings is calculated over 3 years and includes hardware, software, services and other resource adjustments.) How? By taking advantage of best-in-class lifecycle service options for deployment, management, support and asset return – all aimed to free up IT department resources and shift efforts from day to day PC maintenance to more strategic priorities for business transformation.

Components of a Successful “As a Service” Model

We have shaped our PCaaS offer around years of customer feedback and requirements and determined the optimal mix to include:

  • Maximum flexibility that makes it simple – choose the right hardware for each worker profile, and select the most efficient deployment, support level and asset return for your IT needs, with flexible terms and a financial model to adhere to the ebbs and flow of your business. Hardware + services + financing = Simple.
  • Suite of tools and management software options – ensure your assets are secured, your data is encrypted and your hardware is optimized and integrated with a support solution that is automated proactive and predictive. The result is reduced or eliminated disruption from outages and a workforce who can count on relevant technology to provide reliable performance and a worry free experience.
  • Predictable budgets and processes – ease the planning and management of PC lifecycles and at the same time, get a predictable price per seat per month for the life of the usage agreement.
  • A single point of contact for the entire contract – imagine having a Services Delivery Manager who prioritizes and is focused on YOUR end to end PC Lifecycle process, someone to help plan those more complicated solutions, someone to help coordinate with technology deployment and support managers, and someone to help locate and manage the return and refresh process so you get your assets turned around faster and new systems deployed easier with less disruption to your business – getting new technology into those end users hands, seamlessly.

  • Designed to meet all customer needs – the beauty of working with Dell is that we can help solve any customer challenge with our comprehensive PCaaS approach along with the unique ability to customize a broader solution. With Dell PCaaS, you can include a vast array of custom capabilities such as onsite personnel, service desk or remotely administered capabilities.

So if you are looking to reduce the cost and burden of managing the day to day PC lifecycle, looking for a complete offer that is flexible and simple or need more predictability…look no further. Dell PC as a Service might just be what you are looking for.

You can be on the forefront of the shift…it’s happening now so why wait?


Join John Moody (Vice President, Global Support Deployment Services) and Analyst, Anurag Agrawel from Techaisle at Dell Technologies World on Wednesday, May 2, 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the session Is PC as a Service the Answer We’ve Been Waiting For? to learn how PCaaS enables your IT to drive business transformation.

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Seeing the Forest for the Trees: A Sustainable Approach to Digital Transformation https://infocus.dellemc.com/bask_iyer/seeing-forest-for-the-trees-sustainable-approach-digital-transformation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/bask_iyer/seeing-forest-for-the-trees-sustainable-approach-digital-transformation/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:05:42 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34926 Earth Day is nearly here again. While I strive to commute on my trusty bike, I know I can personally do better to give back to Planet Earth. In addition to getting back on the saddle and doing my video calls under a shady tree on my bicycle trail, as a CIO, I believe it […]

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Earth Day is nearly here again.

While I strive to commute on my trusty bike, I know I can personally do better to give back to Planet Earth. In addition to getting back on the saddle and doing my video calls under a shady tree on my bicycle trail, as a CIO, I believe it is also critical for us to embrace a more sustainable approach to delivering on our digital transformation in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace.

Without a doubt, there are direct ways to make a difference environmentally. For instance, at Dell, we have been collecting and turning ocean plastics into recycled packaging for our computers. And we’ve also embraced virtualization, cloud computing and even data center design to reduce energy consumption, cooling costs and even the amount of floor space required to run our business. However, as Dell and VMware’s CIO, I also like to think about what we can do to extend our sustainability and legacy of good even further.

Extending Sustainability to the Business

We have a unique vantage point because we design, support and understand all the interdependencies across various critical business systems. For instance, working with our business partners, we can analyze data to automate and streamline processes, as well as make business savvy and environmentally-friendly enhancements to our supply chain, manufacturing and logistics processes. And, that’s just for starters. The stronger the partnership with our business teams, the more we can drive better business and environmental impacts like this across the company.

Empowering the Workforce

No surprises here. Our workforce is mobile, global and always on. It no longer matters where they are. However, if we provide the right access, apps and collaboration tools, we can power fewer offices; reduce the need for business travel; eliminate commuting congestion and stress; and ultimately provide team members with a more satisfying work/life balance. We’re drinking our own champagne for the greater good.

Creating Evergreen Careers

We all want to work for a company that does good. At Dell, we do a lot to advance our legacy of good. However, we should also encourage our team members to consider innovations that also advance our environmental and sustainability objectives. By continuing to hire, train and retain diverse and creative team members that believe in giving back and advancing our global community, we will have the skills and desire to make more of difference while delivering value for our business. And, they will be happier to work here too.

Making an Impact

Caught up in the minutiae, we often get stuck in an infinite loop and “can’t see the forest for the trees.” In IT, it is common. Every day, we juggle hundreds of projects while finding time to pursue our digital transformation strategy. However, my leaders and I work to consider how our projects and innovations can also advance our environmental and sustainability objectives. Not only can we enhance our business, but do something good for the planet. We can see the forest for the trees.

Happy Earth Day!

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When It Rains It Pours: Preparing People and Business to Navigate Catastrophic Weather Events https://infocus.dellemc.com/doug_driskill/rains-pours-preparing-people-business-navigate-catastrophic-weather-events/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/doug_driskill/rains-pours-preparing-people-business-navigate-catastrophic-weather-events/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:00:32 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34894 How Dell EMC Global Command Centers prepare for disruption and delivers when disaster strikes. Sometimes, dealing with the distractions of day-to-day operations and issues, it is hard to think about the need for long-term planning for business continuity in the case of a major event – natural disaster or otherwise. Working with our support teams […]

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How Dell EMC Global Command Centers prepare for disruption and delivers when disaster strikes.

Sometimes, dealing with the distractions of day-to-day operations and issues, it is hard to think about the need for long-term planning for business continuity in the case of a major event – natural disaster or otherwise. Working with our support teams at Dell EMC, it’s something I think about all-day, every-day.

To provide the best to our customers, I ask myself:

  • How can we help our customers prepare?
  • How can we put the best people, processes and technology in place to proactively minimize risk?
  • How quickly can we mobilize teams ahead of impact?
  • How can we get ‘boots on the ground’ to evaluate damage and provide support, and help begin normalizing operations in relative safety?

Often these contingencies need to be evaluated quickly, while we’re also dealing with the personal complications of avoiding catastrophe.

Harvey, Irma, and Maria

As a native Texan, last year’s disaster preparation was brought extremely close to home. As we braced for Hurricane Harvey and vigilantly watched Irma move through Florida, then Jose and Katia in Mexico we were humbled by the sheer magnitude and violence Maria unleashed in Puerto Rico. The degree of destruction was incomprehensible, and this only includes the events in North America.

The center of Dell EMC’s response to any major event like a natural disaster or security threat is our network of Global Command Centers. We combine proactive monitoring and communications with predictive, automated analysis to help prevent issues and improve responsiveness, speed issue resolution and minimize risk – to people and to businesses.

Dell EMC Puerto Rico team, Dell EMC Round Rock-based Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) volunteers

 

In the case of Hurricane Harvey, 72 hours before the storm hit, the Global Command Center began mobilizing resources and proactively contacting customers.

Our goal is always to get everyone back up and running as quickly as possible. Dell EMC was the first major technology provider to restart part shipments, by land and air, and deliveries in the area impacted by Harvey.

Team members visited customer sites to evaluate and assess equipment and provide technical troubleshooting. For consumer customers, in addition to our existing customer phone support numbers, we opened walk-in centers to provide them with support.

Dell EMC team members assist the Mana Family Worship Center in Humble, TX with clean-up efforts

In addition to their sense of professional commitment, Dell EMC team members also stepped up personally with their time, monetary and supply donations, and in some cases even taking personal leave to travel with relief organizations to impacted areas. Around the world in 2017, 3,500 Dell EMC team members volunteered their time, performing more than 23,000 hours of service and overall employee donations to local relief organizations exceeded $630 million dollars with corporate matching. The efforts we witnessed around us were nothing less than extraordinary.

The process to rebuild homes, communities and businesses is long, slow and expensive. We must continue to explore ways we can use technology to improve future disaster preparedness and expand our role in with long-term rebuilding.


Join us at Dell Technologies World on Monday, April 30 at 1:30 p.m. and May 2 at 12 p.m. in the session “Disaster Preparation and Recovery: Lessons from Hurricane Harvey and Around the Globe” where I’ll discuss how automation has improved implementation of existing response plans, why we are committed to investing in processes digitization and last, but not least, about our people – who demonstrated the best Dell EMC has to offer in the face of each successive storm.

 

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How to Market Your Cloud Services like a Business https://infocus.dellemc.com/vijay_kanchi/how-to-market-your-cloud-services-like-a-business/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/vijay_kanchi/how-to-market-your-cloud-services-like-a-business/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:15:19 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34829 Today advanced enterprise organizations dealing with platform 2 applications are steadily looking at multiple cloud platforms and containers as part of the simpler, easier to manage architectures. Establishing cloud business practices and marketing of IT services is one of the most overlooked areas of enterprise IT professionals. To address this gap, think about marketing your IT […]

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Today advanced enterprise organizations dealing with platform 2 applications are steadily looking at multiple cloud platforms and containers as part of the simpler, easier to manage architectures. Establishing cloud business practices and marketing of IT services is one of the most overlooked areas of enterprise IT professionals. To address this gap, think about marketing your IT services, whether hosted on private or public clouds, like a business markets its products to end customers.

The traditional business marketing mix is built around the 4 Ps – product, price, place and promotion. It’s all about putting the right product, or for IT the right service, at the right price, in the right place, at the right time.

Get the Product (Cloud Service) Right

The right IT service is one that meets the needs of the business. The top three most of widely cloud services are:

  • Compute/virtual machine
  • Managed database services
  • Containers

IT needs to work with the business to understand their requirements, the specific features and capabilities needed, SLAs, etc., and then determine if the best solution is to develop the service in-house, or if there is one readily available externally that they can provide instead. Having the right roles and processes in place to manage service delivery is critical.

Set the Right Price

The foundation for setting the right price is service costing. This involves aligning service components and costs, projecting service utilization, and building a cost model to determine the service total cost of ownership (TCO).

Service pricing is then done by evaluating the service TCO against IT funding policies. For example, services can be priced to recover IT costs, or to make internal services cost-competitive with external services. They can be priced to provide funding for internal projects or capital improvements. Or they could be priced to make a profit. It depends you your individual company’s IT financial policies and objectives.

Location, Location, Location

Make it easy for users to find and consume the services they need with a service catalog. The service catalog should have role-based access control, and the services should be clearly defined with service tiers, pricing and SLAs. Publish the service catalog in a self-service portal with automated approval routing and resource provisioning.

Shout It Out Loud

Make the business aware of the service catalog and services available. Work with the business to get feedback on services and refine you offerings. It’s all about effectively communicating the value and benefits of the offerings.


Join us at Dell Technologies World on Wednesday May 2nd at 8:30 .a.m in the session “IT as a Business: Your Multi-Cloud Strategy is the Product” where we will explore the transition to becoming a cloud broker, establishing cloud business practices and the role the 4 Ps in marketing play.

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Multicloud Data Centers and Going D.I.G.I.T.A.L? (Do I Give it to Amazon then Leave?) https://infocus.dellemc.com/bart_driscoll/implementing-multi-cloud-data-center/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/bart_driscoll/implementing-multi-cloud-data-center/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:00:38 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34844 Gosh, I hope the answer is no. But, I have to admit that does appear to be the big, red easy button that many CIOs around the world are exploring. It isn’t just Amazon, it’s Google, Azure, Virtustream, and others. Given the short tenure of C-suite execs, many CIOs are feeling the pressure to outsource IT to […]

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Gosh, I hope the answer is no.

But, I have to admit that does appear to be the big, red easy button that many CIOs around the world are exploring. It isn’t just Amazon, it’s Google, Azure, Virtustream, and others. Given the short tenure of C-suite execs, many CIOs are feeling the pressure to outsource IT to the cloud in order to meet more and more aggressive SLO’s, cost cutting demands, and most importantly innovation. A few years ago, we called this phenomena “shadow IT.” Today, the reality of multicloud data centers is becoming more and more the norm. It isn’t happening in the shadow (as much), it’s becoming a conscious and informed decision of the business and IT together to hopefully deliver on the promise and value of digital transformation.

So Does the Multicloud Model Make Sense?

From a purely economics perspective, multi-cloud doesn’t make sense. Assuming you have a well-run IT shop and are effectively automating all routine data center activities like patch management, scaling, and monitoring, it is more cost effective to keep your data center on-premises. If it wasn’t, Amazon and others wouldn’t be in the market. But most IT shops are not well-oiled machines, they are laden with technical debt; they have inefficient, often manual processes; and, their investment in automation to date has fallen short of expectations. In this type of environment, a multicloud platform can be the difference between success and failure.

Multicloud Platform Overview

Before delving into what multicloud solves, I should define what a multicloud is. In short, multicloud is a collection of public and private infrastructure resources (compute, network, storage) administered via a common control and management plane. A basic example is VMware’s Cloud on AWS, where you can extend your on-premises vSphere environment into the AWS cloud using EC2 instances. In this example, vSphere is your management and control plane and your on-premises hardware and AWS EC2 instances comprise your integrated resource pool. In this configuration, you can “seamlessly” migrate vSphere based workloads using standard VMI images to/from the AWS cloud.

This example leads me to the promise of multicloud platforms, namely speed, portability, scalability, and resiliency. These capabilities are attained via one common thread across all multicloud platforms. That thread is consistency. Unlike the data center of the past where environments are assembled from procedural scripts, checklists, and tribal knowledge; multiclouds, powered by the public cloud paradigm, employ automation to manage infrastructure resources. Basic provisioning, scaling, patching, and configuring are managed by the platform. This enables IT to reliably and repeatedly provide accurate and consistent environments to product development teams and business users. Consistency at this layer provides a solid foundation, or known-good state, against which you can confidently develop, verify, and validate change thereby reducing risk and accelerating throughput. Furthermore by managing to a known-good state, operators of multiclouds can more effectively monitor for change, variants, and other issues. Because the platform is adept at recreating consistent environments, it can quickly recover from outages or other issues by “repaving” the resources.

Lastly, consistency enables both portability and scalability by providing the immutable building blocks needed to recreate and reconfigure an instance or environment. It is through these methods that a multicloud platform closes the performance and productivity gaps of traditional IT shops.

A Multicloud IT Shop

Despite the ambitions of tooling providers around the world, the automation, orchestration, and validation alluded to the above doesn’t come out-of-the-box when purchasing a cloud solution. This is because many enterprises support multiple technology stacks, managed by flexible environment contracts, and numerous integration patterns. There are just too many permutations to provide a fully supported, packaged multicloud solution. As such, the onus of building this platform and the myriad of services and tools falls on the Enterprise IT shop.

If IT attempts to build this platform mimicking existing processes and practices, they will inevitably recreate a “newer, shinier” version of what they support today, namely ticket-driven, snowflake configurations, manual processes, which delivers underwhelming outcomes. In order to truly transform, IT must introduce new skills, practices, processes, and tools that change the way systems are defined, deployed, and managed.

 

Key characteristics of the transformed, multicloud shop:

Lean and Agile Principles

Multicloud IT shops have fully embraced lean and agile thinking. Above all else, they value working code in production. That code is manifested in applications and infrastructure running in PRODUCTION. In other words, code defines, deploys, and configures the application and environment running in production. Code also defines the workflow, orchestration, and testing that creates, verifies, and manages the environment and application. What most distinguishes these multicloud shops is that they tirelessly work to improve practices and processes in order to accelerate time-to-production and minimize cost of support. Their transformation never really ends.

Systems Thinking Approach (End-To-End)

Embracing the lean and agile concepts, multicloud IT shops employ a system thinking approach to problem solving. It isn’t enough to optimize the activities of a single team or department, multicloud solutions employ an end-to-end pipeline (or workflow) that mirrors the SDLC and Change Management process. By employing a systems approach, a multicloud shop is always identifying constraints in the pipeline and actively working to remediate them.

API-first Design

API-first design does not equate to deployment automation via procedural scripts. Multicloud platforms consist of an ecosystem of tools, code, and configurations that in-concert define, deploy, and manage your data center. Because integration between tools, the pipeline, and the actual environments is critical, APIs are a language and design pattern of modern, multiclouds.  APIs can be surfaced through catalogues, through orchestrations, and/or via command line. For example, you may use Puppet to define, orchestrate, and manage environmental configurations.  Puppet will be linked to a pipeline (workflow) tool like Jenkins or CodeStream. Automated testing tools that validate and verify the configuration will be linked to that workflow.

Emergent Standards

This is one of the most difficult concepts to embrace in the multicloud operating model as control is shifted to product teams and pipelines from Enterprise Architects and Review Boards.  As application and environments are on-boarded into the multicloud by product teams, architects help build and design service packages. Through these efforts, design patterns begin to emerge across the portfolio. These patterns are then promoted into standards. Standards are managed and maintained via automated tests and checks. Product teams that use standards bypass the Review Process in favor of automated tests. As new service packages are created, the architecture team can pair with the product team to define and ultimately promote new standards.  In a multicloud operating model, the standards definition and review process is evergreen.

Developer Skillset

This is the most visible change when transitioning to a multicloud operating model, namely everyone codes. In practice, an “Operator” no longer applies a patch to a production machine.  Instead, they build and test new automation code that deploys/implements that patch to a known-good version of infrastructure. This development process creates a new version of infrastructure that is verified and validated before promoting to the Production service catalogue. Once promoted, product teams can begin to validate and verify their applications against this new version prior to rolling it out across the data center. This minimizes outages and issues related to platform and configuration dependencies being arbitrarily pushed out. It also put the onus of refactoring the application to function correctly on the new “standard” to development teams.

Summary

Introducing multicloud into the modern data center is more than just new hardware and software. To achieve the outcomes of digital IT transformation, organizations need to also change how they build and manage these solutions. These changes will require a critical evaluation of existing processes, skills, tooling, etc. in order to be successful.


If you would like to learn more, join our session “Impacts & Considerations When Implementing A MultiCloud Platform” at Dell Technologies World 2018 in Las Vegas on Monday April 30th at 12:00 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

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Growing Revenue and Reducing Costs https://infocus.dellemc.com/alex_barretto/grow-revenue-and-reduce-costs-customer-experience-artificial-intelligence/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/alex_barretto/grow-revenue-and-reduce-costs-customer-experience-artificial-intelligence/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:00:32 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34877 Why the customer experience matters…and why artificial intelligence will help! As we plan our business development roadmap for the Support and Deployment Services organization, I routinely meet with industry leaders, customers and partners. I find there is really nothing better than sitting face-to-face to hear firsthand about the successes and challenges they face daily—in planning […]

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Why the customer experience matters…and why artificial intelligence will help!

As we plan our business development roadmap for the Support and Deployment Services organization, I routinely meet with industry leaders, customers and partners. I find there is really nothing better than sitting face-to-face to hear firsthand about the successes and challenges they face daily—in planning and execution—and discuss how we, as a services organization, can help accelerate their IT and digital transformation.

Hopefully you will be attending Dell Technologies World this year and, if you are, you’re probably beginning to determine which breakout sessions will be most valuable to you and your business. There’s so much to choose from a technology perspective, but I’d recommend you take a moment to remind yourself why we’ll all be there.

Which of the following IT initiatives is your IT organization prioritizing over the next 12 months?

Source: Forrester Global Business Technographics® Priorities And Journey Survey, 2017

 

The importance to “increase innovation” and “shift resources to initiatives that will improve customer experience” is more urgent than ever and will ultimately increase customer satisfaction and revenue.

Today’s world is no longer driven just by data — it’s driven by the connections between them. 

Big data alone used to be enough, but to make bottom-line decisions, to grow revenue and reduce costs, you need real-time insights into how data is related.

The Customer Experience Affects Revenue

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Happy customers can move the bottom line. Forrester also found that by shifting the Customer Experience (CX) Index by a single point, auto manufacturers will see an incremental $873 million in revenue.

Source: Forrester “Drive Revenue With Great Customer Experience, 2017”

And this is Where AI Comes in

When asked, “what are the biggest strategic/growth benefits AI will contribute to your organization?” The majority of respondents answered, “to improve customer experience and support.”

“What are the biggest strategic/growth benefits AI will contribute to your organization?”

Source: Forrester, Artificial Intelligence: What’s Possible for Enterprises in 2017

 

At Dell EMC, we realize that in order for us to grow revenue and reduce costs, we must continue to provide an exceptional support experience for our customers while continuing to invest in AI technologies that will enhance our predictive and proactive capabilities.

The future will open up an entirely new realm of customer experience. By transitioning our current SupportAssist and Secure Remote Services from Machine Learning into Deep Learning within our AI ecosystem, we’ll expand their capabilities, allowing us to better understand customer needs, improve the accuracy of recommendations, and deliver much more personalized customer experience.

-Howard Elias, President, Dell EMC Services and IT

Dell EMC Support and Deployment Services are “All In”

Here at Dell EMC Support and Deployment Services our top priority is to deliver industry-leading services to help our customers through their transformation journey. In order to do that, we’ve worked hard to increase innovation and deliver IT projects faster.

Dell Technologies drives customer value through data, connectivity, and artificial intelligence.


If you are a Dell Technology World attendee, I encourage you to join our session “Grow Revenue & Reduce Costs: Dell EMC Support and Deployment Services Best Practices & Lessons Learned” on Wednesday, May 2nd at 8:30 a.m. where I’ll be speaking alongside Patrick Mooney (Vice President of SDS Technology) and Bob MacFarlane (Senior Director, SDS Technology Software & Engineering) on how Dell EMC leverages Dell Technologies to drive customer value through data, connectivity, and artificial intelligence.

 

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Skepticism at the Top: A Case Study in NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/skepticism-at-the-top-a-case-study-in-nfv-deployment/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/skepticism-at-the-top-a-case-study-in-nfv-deployment/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34776 As discussed in my previous blog, Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment and effort, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment […]

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As discussed in my previous blog, Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment and effort, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence, identifies major stumbling blocks keeping operators from fully leveraging the agility, dynamic scaling, and efficiency advantages of network virtualization.

In this third CSP NFV and final deployment case study, we look at the role of C-level leadership in NFV program success and how to gain CXO commitment.

Case Study #3: Skepticism at the Top

The IT and Network Operations groups at a large Tier 1 CSP agreed on one thing: a major competitor was close to capitalizing on NFV/SDN and it would take quick, bold action to keep pace.

At the C-level, however, executives were skeptical. They detected a high degree of hype—and risk—in NFV/SDN. Some even predicted that public failure and big cost overruns would be the outcome of their competitor’s ambitious transformation program.

Cautious Tactical Trials

Fearing that problems with a large-scale NFV/SDN deployment had the potential to knock out half of their services, senior executives took a conservative, tactical approach.

Rather than moving forward with a holistic, enterprise transformation strategy, architecture and operating model, they limited NFV to one-node trials, with each virtualized network function thoroughly unit-, module-, regression-, performance- and scale-tested before proceeding to the next.

Focused on the cost savings to be had from separating network function from underlying hardware, the CXOs failed to recognize the need for a new operational model and skill sets to reap the benefits; and slow to fund hiring, training, and/or external consultants.

The IT and Network department teams, working together on the NFV trials, did what they could to manage. IT shared their experience managing virtualized environments with the network group while Linux teams were encouraged to advance trials of open source solutions and increased participation in industry standards groups.

Playing Catch Up

It was only when faced with the very public success of their competitor—including incremental revenue, agility and cost-savings—that CSP senior management changed their approach, approving an aggressive SD-WAN roll-out, funding a formal training program, and moving forward with an initiative to manage distributed virtualized edge network nodes and functions through a common platform.

However, even today, the CSP remains a year or two behind its competitor and has yet to launch a single, strategic program for enterprise-wide conversion to the NFV/SDN model.

Getting CXOs On-board

In our experience, the most difficult and typically unforeseen obstacles to NFV/SDN are operational and organizational—not technical. In this case, IT and Network Operations were on the same page, but the C-level was not. A fundamental transformation of network architecture and operation is not possible without the informed, sustained support (if not leadership) of senior management.

Building the Business Case

Indeed, even with an enthusiastic C-Suite, the first step in developing the right NFV/SDN transformation strategy is building the business case—including ROI and financial modeling in the context of the CSP’s business and objectives. Initially, high-level, single-VNF analysis can be used to justify more detailed, multiple-scenario modeling and sensitivity analyses to more precisely quantify the benefits to be accrued from NFV/SDN deployment.

Because people and process are integral to the successful deployment and operationalization of NFV/SDN, the business case should include an objective assessment of the current organization/operation—compared to the organizational structure, operating model, processes required for NFVi management.

In addition, C-level executives (and, often, Network Operations teams) may require presentations that show how a well-architected and orchestrated NFV/SDN infrastructure can deliver reliability and resiliency that is equal-or-better-than the existing physical network.

First Step on the Roadmap

As the chart below shows, a solid business case provides the foundation for defining next steps in a phased, multi-dimensional roadmap for planning and executing NFV/SDN across people, process and technology.

Dell EMC Methodology for the Transformation Journey

Summary

As our blog series of CSP Case Studies shows, every situation is different. There is no “right” model for deploying NFV/SDN technology—all decisions and options involve trade-offs.

To delve deeper into successful NFV deployments, download the new Dell EMC white paper Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence. Based on research with MST Consulting and Dell EMC experience with than 2,000 successful cloud implementations, the paper describes approaches and methodologies that can help mitigate risk and provide CSPs with a new perspective on the right next step for their company.

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Internet of Things (IoT) Dell Use Case: Leveraging Our Connected Platforms to Improve Customer Care and Product Development https://infocus.dellemc.com/don_macmaster/internet-things-iot-dell-use-case-leveraging-connected-platforms-improve-customer-care-product-development/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/don_macmaster/internet-things-iot-dell-use-case-leveraging-connected-platforms-improve-customer-care-product-development/#respond Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:00:42 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34814 Every day, Dell IT exchanges information with millions of Dell EMC connected devices installed in thousands of enterprise, commercial and consumer customer sites around the world. Powered by Dell technology, this connected environment is one of the most significant deployments of an enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform in the world—providing us with data to […]

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Every day, Dell IT exchanges information with millions of Dell EMC connected devices installed in thousands of enterprise, commercial and consumer customer sites around the world.

Powered by Dell technology, this connected environment is one of the most significant deployments of an enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform in the world—providing us with data to improve product quality, improve service availability, help customers better maintain and leverage their investment in our products, and more.

We have honed our connected platform over two decades, giving us a unique vantage point on the current industry-wide trend of linking an increasing myriad of devices to create the Internet of Things and utilize the data it provides. Like the emerging IoT concept, Dell IT’s IoT approach is still evolving as we find new ways to analyze, and use, the data we collect and then communicate value back to our customers.

Here is a glimpse into how our connected environment has taken shape and how Dell IT is leveraging our edge to core to cloud technologies to unleash the power of IoT.

Our “Call Home” Beginnings

Dell has been using data from our connected environment for many years to analyze product performance and improve engineering. It began 20 years ago with giving our products—primarily storage systems back then—the capability to send problem alerts back to our IT remote monitoring systems to trigger possible customer service calls: a storage array component like a disk drive is about to fail and needs to be replaced. We process the alarm and dispatch a technician.

Over time, we evolved the call back capability to include other product lines including servers, desktops and laptops and more information, such as configuration details, environmental conditions like temperature, and software faults. About ten years ago, we added a two-way information exchange to the storage product lines: technicians could now access array consoles, diagnose what was going on and fix problems remotely.

From there, we expanded our bi-directional connection to collect even more real-time performance product data and send it to our Dell data lake, initially for analysis by engineering to help improve product design and quality.

Currently, we channel a wealth of harvested product usage, configuration and performance data into the data lake, where it is mined by an increasing number of business groups to analyze everything from product failure alerts and code upgrades to licensing usage and product usage data. We use an expanse of Dell solutions, including VMware, Dell EMC storage, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and RSA security offerings, to power our ever expanding IoT environment.

Moreover, we are making that product data available directly to the customers via cloud-based management solutions that let them log into a secure portal and see their Dell product ecosystem, and evaluate data on things like capacity, product upgrades, and potential failure alerts.

Letting Customers Pay by the Drip

We are only just starting to scratch the potential business value of our IoT platform. After all, there’s a lot of data out there and the things you can use it for; some of them are known, and some aren’t known until you start looking at that data and figure out the patterns that are there.

One of our latest IoT use cases is the development of a flexible consumption model that allows customers to pay for infrastructure as they use it, rather than buying it up front. The idea is that a customer can roll a Dell EMC VMAX into their data center but only pay for the amount of storage they use as they use it.

To track the products’ consumption, we need to enable our products to calculate the amount of storage utilized and send it back to enterprise billing systems so we can analyze it and create a bill for customers.

We are just starting to provide flexible consumption capabilities on storage and software and expect to expand it across all of our product lines shortly.

Flexible consumption is not only more efficient regarding tracking IT resource usage, but it also lets customers reap the financial benefits of investing in IT resources as operating expenses rather than capital expenses.

Lessons Learned

We are continuing to work towards adding more capabilities as business requirements emerge, as well as continually upgrading our technology to be more efficient. Here are some insights that we have learned along the way that might help your organization leverage the Internet of Things to get control of your IT resources or to connect with customers to improve your products and services.

  • The more data you collect, the more potential insights you can get. But if you ingest too much data, then you are putting an unnecessary load on your system. Finding the right mix of edge analytics and core analytics is essential. By moving some of your intelligence to the edge, it does not make it all the way back, and you are not clogging the pipe. We have some knowledge built in to determine if something should be sent back or not.
  • Security is huge. Implement security best practices, monitor security continuously and give the end-customer full control of the connectivity/IoT transactions.
  • You must use technology and infrastructure that can massively scale quickly. We use Dell family of Pivotal and VMware products.
  • The IoT system requires other IT systems to work together to integrate and analyze data. Integration with other systems (financial, CRM, ERP, social, ) builds the collective data needed for AI to provide value.
  • An IoT platform must be simple to monitor and manage.
  • End customers are capturing most of the value of IoT in the form of efficient products that are better designed and serviced due to insights from the collected data. They are also benefitting from a product operation that is personalized to their experience and workload.

Summary

Our IoT platform lets us and our customers use the wealth of data we collect from our connected products to make things better. It also enables artificial intelligence and machine learning use cases. So whether you want to get more insight into your install environment and stay ahead of maintenance, take advantage of a consumption-based model to procure infrastructure, or create your own IoT platform to use customer feedback to improve your products, IoT is a critical tool that we are confident will only grow in importance.


If you are a Dell Technology World attendee, please join our session “Dell IT: Delivering IoT as an Enterprise Digital Business Enabler” on May 1 at 8:30 a.m. or May 2 at 3:00 p.m. to learn how Dell IT has been using IoT and analytics to deploy actionable insights, improve customer experience, and drive operational efficiencies. From product serviceability to usage based consumption models, Dell IT’s IoT team delivers mission critical customer service capabilities to the business.

 

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Multi-Cloud: What’s Your ROI? https://infocus.dellemc.com/norman-dee/multi-cloud-whats-roi/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/norman-dee/multi-cloud-whats-roi/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 09:01:13 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34716 Organizations are looking to move to a multi-cloud environment to realize the benefits of self service, scalability, accountability, standardization and automation. However, many are finding it difficult to get started. They are struggling with how to get corporate commitment, how to justify funding for the transformation, and where to start. Projecting the ROI of the […]

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Organizations are looking to move to a multi-cloud environment to realize the benefits of self service, scalability, accountability, standardization and automation. However, many are finding it difficult to get started. They are struggling with how to get corporate commitment, how to justify funding for the transformation, and where to start.

Projecting the ROI of the transformation gives you the information you need to build the business case to justify the transformation, and to help secure stakeholder and corporate buy-in.

How to determine multi-cloud ROI

Key to determining the ROI is understanding and comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the current environment, the projected TCO of the target state, as well as what the transitions costs will be.

Establish Current and Target State Costs

Measure your current state TCO, and project your target state TCO. Both current and target state costs of all of the in-scope:

  • Hardware and software that is used to provision the applications.
  • The embedded network that the services use. Almost everything today has a network component such as in the fabric that connects us to storage, the LAN components in every server, the connections to the WAN and Internet that connects the services to users and other related systems.
  • The current costs of maintain the applications in the current and projected environments. You will find this varies due to the level of automation and application modernization.
  • The FTEs needed to support the infrastructure will also vary due to automation and modernization.
  • Facilities costs which include the more variable power and cooling as opposed to the fixed, less variable real estate costs. Power and cooling will decrease especially when migrating to converged more efficient, right sized environments.
  • External, outsourced workloads are the services we might employ for operations, service management, help desk, remote hands, etc. These will be impacted also by automation and modernization.  However, they might increase if the strategy is to reduce less reliance on internal resources.
  • Overhead includes whatever management, corporate and executive costs are attributed to the in-scope P&L.

Project Transition Costs

The transition costs pretty much parallel the same TCO of the current and future states.

They include:

  • Swing hardware refers to the additional or overlapping hardware that will be needed during the transformation / migration.
  • Additional Software, as with the H/W, identifies the costs associated with running parallel licenses.
  • There may be additional network connections needed that will need to be accounted for in determining transition costs.
  • Staff time refers to the internal or external costs for executing the transition. This is an interesting factor in terms of the time impact for executing the transition.  We have found that relying totally on internal resources, who also have their “Day Job”, will result in longer transition deliveries.  Often, employing outside resources will result in faster execution and at less cost.
  • As with many transformations, additional education and training is needed. This comes at a cost both in terms of costs and staff time.
  • There may be additional support needed in the form of transition services which will facilitate and guarantee success.

Run the Numbers

Input the current state, target state and transition costs into a cost-benefit analysis. Calculate current and target state IT run rates, and develop an investment profile based on the transformation roadmap. From this, the net IT costs, net savings, and ROI can be calculated.

The analysis should also take into account the time value of money by calculating the net present value (NPV) of the investments and savings. This will show the potential investment returns in current dollars. All of the analysis should be multi-year, typically covering a five year investment period.

By doing a payback or breakeven analysis you can determine how much time, usually expressed in years, it will take to recover the total cost of the investment (including both capital and services costs) and therefore, when the real savings from the transformation takes effect.

Want to learn more?

Join us at at Dell Technologies World on Wednesday May 2nd at 3:00 pm in the session “Multi-Cloud: What’s Your ROI?” where we will walk through the detailed ROI analyses of two organizations with varying transformation scope and objectives, as well as an example transformation roadmap that shows key activities that impact ROI.

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What is Your Tipping Point? Insights on Technology Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/anna_le/tipping-point-insights-technology-deployment/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/anna_le/tipping-point-insights-technology-deployment/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 09:00:42 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34693 Insights on navigating the complexity of your IT transformation I often talk with customers about IT Transformation – frequently, what they discuss is the maze of options that make it challenging to set priorities and difficult to avoid incomplete implementation of new technologies. Recently we engaged with IDC and Principled Technologies, to examine what factors […]

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Insights on navigating the complexity of your IT transformation

I often talk with customers about IT Transformation – frequently, what they discuss is the maze of options that make it challenging to set priorities and difficult to avoid incomplete implementation of new technologies.

Recently we engaged with IDC and Principled Technologies, to examine what factors most impact the transformation process, driving increased costs, delayed adoption and IT distraction from business goals. Combined with our internal research about support calls for newly deployed equipment, the studies paint a clear picture of lost time, and hidden opportunity costs in traditional DIY approaches to planning, installation and implementation. When you look at the real deployment costs of servers, storage, data protection and networking, what is your tipping point? When is it to your advantage to shift resources away from these efforts and instead focus your business on performing a real transformation?

Is using internal IT resources for deployment planning really less expensive? Is it the best allocation of existing IT resources? I was reading in a recent study from Forbes, that the top goal for IT Transformation was reducing IT costs.  Followed by being first to market with new products then shifting budget to strategic projects1.  Our own research has uncovered that two of those objectives can be helped by optimizing deployment and shifting the burden of deployment away from internal IT, these savings can open opportunity to succeed on the third.


We took a look at the number of support contacts our customers required in the first 90 days for servers, storage and networking.  We’ve found that systems deployed by our Dell EMC experts have up to 49% fewer technical support calls within the first 90 days vs. self-installed systems2.  This can directly impact the timing and costs related to having your systems production ready.

More dynamic processes in the datacenter will allow for a more flexible and resilient environment, and this provides the foundation for effective business transformation” – IDC’

Year after year the research firm IDC has found that 80% of IT time is spent on day-to-day tasks and only 20% on innovation1. They have also found that provisioning/deployment and remediation activities take up most of this time. To see the impact efficient deployments make on this situation, IDC performed a worldwide survey on datacenter deployment experiences.

Datacenter Deployment Analysis

IDC’s analysis of the survey data revealed that as companies move from basic to optimized deployment they save significant cost in terms of staff time and lower impact on their enterprise users1.  By saving hundreds of hours per deployment they can shift this time and cost savings to other forward leaning initiatives.  In addition, the study showed that organizations who perform these tasks often, experience fewer issues and gain greater efficiency1.

When I see customers who are using ad-hoc and manual means of deployment, I see customers who are spending more time and money than they should. At the same time that hardware is becoming easier to install, what customers need to do with it is becoming increasingly more complex.  To respond we developed the ProDeploy Suite of services with the goal of making it easy to pair a deployment need with the right level of service. Over decades our team has developed automation and standardization along with the expertise that can only be gained from doing every type of configuration you can imagine, in every type of environment, all over the world.

We reached out to Principled Technologies to quantify this impact through their testing. They compared deployment times of a typical stack including servers, storage, and networking.  Their in-house administrator and a Dell EMC-certified ProDeploy engineer separately set up the same solution in their data center. Findings showed a significant decrease in project planning time and in-house admin time with an overall 66% faster time to deploy with ProDeploy3.  Just picture for yourself what your team could spend 66% more of their time on to really transform the business.

Taking a hard look at these findings should give you a solid reason to examine your own strategy for installing and implementing new infrastructure technologies.  Using ProDeploy or ProDeploy Plus can deliver faster, better and lower cost deployments while you focus your talents on what your company does best. Beyond our ProDeploy suite, Dell EMC offers organizations other ways to both optimize their own deployments through our Infrastructure Deployment Assessments, and the ability to add expertise to IT through Dell EMC Educational Services and our Residency Service.

If you are a Dell Technology World attendee, please join us for a deeper examination of this research and an opportunity to get your questions answered. We will be hosting an IT Leadership session entitled “What is Your Tipping point? How to Navigate the Maze of IT Complexity When Deploying New Technology”, Monday April 30, 2018 at 8:30 AM or Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 1:30 PM.  We look forward to meeting you there!

1 Source: Forbes Insights on IT Transformation – IT Transformation on CIO – CFO Collaboration Study
2Based on a July 2017 internal analysis of support data from Feb. 2016 through June 2017 for Dell PowerEdge, Dell Networking, and Dell SCv/PS/PowerVault Storage devices.  Actual results may vary.
3Source: Based on “Bring new systems to production readiness faster and with less effort from in-house administrators”, a Principled Technologies Test Report commissioned by Dell, February 2017. Full report found here: http://facts.pt/YU95pg

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