Michael Dell's Vision For Partners: 'It's You And Your Customers' Driving The Future Of The World

Dell Technologies Founder, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell's vision for the future of the IT industry is so forward-looking that he wonders if people can adapt to technology as quickly as new technologies are being developed.

He also envisions an important role for channel partners in that tech-forward future.

During a Q&A with partners during the Dell EMC Partner Summit held at the Dell EMC World conference in Austin, Texas this week, Dell took the opportunity to comment on his vision for the next decade or two.

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In the past, the aim of technology was to help businesses automate processes, or to make businesses more efficient, he said.

"Now, you say we want to re-imagine the company with all this digital information," Dell said. "I don't think anybody really knows what it means, and fortunately, we don't necessarily have to predict all that. We're going to provide the infrastructure for the digital future, but it's you and your customers that are going to create and do all the combinatorial inventions that will result in the big improvements that are coming in the world."

Dell tackled the explosion of data, saying one of the key challenges for the industry is helping customers figure out how to use the data they produce.

"What are you going to do with all this data?" Dell asked. "When you apply artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning; there's also something new occurring called unstructured learning. This isn't so much people learning in an unstructured way, I'm all for that, too. This is computers learning in an unstructured way.

"So, you release computers on your data and as you get more computing power, the computing engines are discovering correlations among the data that are beyond the comprehension of normal mathematical human beings. It's a very interesting field of computer science. I think there's going to be all kinds of things like that.

"I think the intersection of the biosciences and the information sciences is incredibly exciting. There are questions: Can people adapt as quickly as the technology is changing? We couldn't be more excited about the opportunities ahead and I actually think it's just the beginning of our industry in that sense."

Partners said Dell's grand vision, and the success he's had so far in bringing Dell and EMC together bode well for the future of the channel.

Chris Kelleher, director of strategic alliances at Insight, a large solution provider that works with Dell EMC, said the opportunities are huge for partners that are positioned correctly. "What's really exciting about everything coming together is the breadth of the market that we're going to have the ability to go penetrate," Kelleher said. "Existing Dell customers, we're going to be able to go talk to them about EMC and vice versa, it just really opens things up with respect to the channel. Partners like Insight that have traditionally sold both are going to be really well positioned going forward."

Bob Olwig, vice president of business development and innovation at World Wide Technology, a large solution provider that works with Dell EMC, said Dell's visibility, willingness to talk to partners and clear love of technology is a good sign for the future. "It's not a one-and-done with Michael Dell," Olwig said. "He's very visible, very participatory. He's engaged. The breadth of the portfolio, he believes it, and I think he believes it’s a great opportunity for partners to share in that."

The Dell EMC World conference is taking place in Austin this week. It's the first major conference since Dell completed its landmark, $58 billion acquisition of EMC in early September, and the event has attracted scores of channel partners from around the world.