“I cannot recall a time when technology was more necessary and important.”
With those words, General Manager of Dell Enterprise Solutions Stewart van Graan opened the first Dell EMC Forum in South Africa. After completing one of the most successful technology mergers in history, Dell EMC invited top customers, industry experts and business leaders to discuss the impact of technological transformation on the world.
“Transformation – that is a word on everybody’s lips. Certainly, if we look at the audience, I will tell you that for as many of you that are here, we would probably have as many definitions for transformation. The principle here is that transformation has to be seen from a number of different perspectives.”
Speaking to a packed crowd at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Van Graan lamented the radical change that is happening, opening up new directions and different levels of effectiveness. Following on the heels of Van Graan’s comments, Dell EMC SA’s General Manager Doug Wooley said that the underlying systems powering the 21st century are becoming more flexible. This means companies must adopt similarly elastic thinking.
“If you don’t have a software-defined mindset, you will be left behind,” he cautioned attendees. Adding to that, Wooley identified optimisation and automation, workforce transformation and a renewed vigour for security as the elements that should not be ignored by organisations.
The question is no longer whether technological transformation will impact everyone, but rather how to take the reigns and gain the most advantage from it. The Dell EMC Forum’s keynote speaker, VCE EMEA CTO Nigel Moulton, took to the stage and wasted no time reaching this point:
“Digital disruption is an opportunity, but only if we look at it in the right way.”
He proceeded to lay out specific guidelines devised by technology experts. Calling them the 6 Principles of Digital Disruption, Moulton brought the concepts of the seachange out of their cryptic technology jackets and into sensible, tangible attire.
The first was the rapid evolution of interfaces, such as giving voice commands. Moulton noted than in an 18 month period, he has gone from one to five devices that he regularly commands through speaking. This is a clear sign that the layers between people and machines are thinning, and will translate into more effective interactions, something users will come to expect and relish.
Moulton’s second point, removing friction, followed on this. If a process takes 10 steps to complete, can new technologies reduce that to 9, 8 or even less? Given the rapid changes being experienced, the answer is almost always ‘yes.’
The third principle, embracing nonlinearity, explains how cheap computing power is allowing people to reach into quantities of calculations, data and computational power that are beyond our comprehension. Thus we need modern technology to be our guides in exploring these new realms. Relating to this is the rise of abundance, the fourth principle. The challenge is no longer scarcity, but finding the best signals in all that noise.
The last two principles are both straightforward, yet very critical: be honest and be curious. Honesty has become key in an age where anyone can expose dirty laundry, while curiosity is necessary to learn about new technological potential. Delegating this to the IT geeks is no longer the smart thing to do.
As Moulton concluded, IT is the engine room of transformation, but they are doing deep surgery with the engine constantly running. The event offered a number of sessions in which to explore digital transformation’s themes and challenges. It helped attendees get ahead on the complexities and opportunities they meet every day in their businesses.
The first Dell EMC Forum in South Africa was a qualified success. It will help the country on its digital journey and when attendees meet again, they will have unlocked new levels of growth and prosperity to explore.