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Michael Dell On Virtual Dell Technologies World: ‘The Show Must Go On’

‘What we do know from internal events that we move from physical to virtual – and we’ve learned a lot about that just in the last few weeks – we’ll make it incredibly compelling and engaging,’ says Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell in an interview with CRN.

For the first time in its history, Dell Technologies World will be a virtual event this year due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the highly popular conference moving from its physical event in Las Vegas to now online, Dell’s founder and CEO Michael Dell said the event will still pack a powerful punch.

“The show must go on,” said Dell in an interview with CRN. “We have important announcements and we’re going to make Dell Technologies World 2020 interactive and compelling. What we do know from internal events that we move from physical to virtual – and we’ve learned a lot about that just in the last few weeks – we’ll make it incredibly compelling and engaging.”

[Related: Dell Employee Tests Positive For Coronavirus After Visiting HQ]

Dell said there will be no change in terms of the major announcements around new products and strategy being made during the event which will run from May 4 to May 7.

“Every single announcement -- sort of the meat of the event -- will absolutely occur, even if we’re not all together in beautiful Las Vegas,” said Dell.

Last week, the $92 billion Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure giant announced that Dell Technologies World 2020 will become a virtual conference due to ongoing concerns of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This decision was not made lightly,” the company said at the time. “As we learn more about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we know this is the right thing to do, given the global nature of Dell Technologies World. The core of what we set out to accomplish together is still important, which is why we will deliver keynotes, select breakout sessions and live chats with experts as a virtual experience.”

Many channel partners leverage Dell Technologies World as an event to showcase Dell’s innovation and growth strategy to customers. More than 14,000 people attended Dell Technologies World 2019.

Rick Gouin, chief technology officer for Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Dell Technologies partner and 2019 CRN Triple Crown award winner, said Dell Technologies World is “one of my favorite events every year.”

“I typically bring 40-plus people to that event. So of course, we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to have that event. However, we totally agree with their judgment with regards to safety,” said Gouin. “We enjoy that opportunity to network and learn alongside our customers. It definitely helps us move the sales processes forward. But we’re glad they’re doing what’s in the best interest for all of us.”

Gouin said many Winslow Technology Group employees will be attending the virtual event. “I’ll have a ton of people watching and tracking it, and tweeting about it,” he said.

A slew of IT vendors have canceled, postponed or switched from physical conference to virtual events due to coronavirus concerns.

Two of the nation's leading IT distributors, Ingram Micro and Synnex, have delayed or canceled upcoming shows, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise canceled or postponed most of its events through April. Other IT vendors such as Amazon and Google are restricting employee travel due to the spread of the coronavirus.

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