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CEO Outlook 2019: 5 Tech Titans Predict How The New Year Will Shape Up

How will the industry’s top executives ring in the new year? Here’s what Michael Dell, Pat Gelsinger, Antonio Neri, Chuck Robbins and Dion Weisler have to say about innovation, investments and the keys to success for their channel partners.

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For top technology CEOs, ringing in the new year means making big bets on game-changing innovation to propel channel sales growth in emerging markets from edge computing to artificial intelligence to multi-cloud data management.

How does that innovation take shape? CRN asked the leaders of the industry’s powerhouse companies for their insight into the coming year.

Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell, for his part, calls 2019 a year of investment and innovation.

“We will continue to invest heavily in developing the essential infrastructure to support the digital future,” said Dell, a PC pioneer who now oversees an $87 billion end-to-end digital transformation leader that has invested a whopping $12.8 billion in research and development in the last three fiscal years. “That means cloud-neutral development platforms and containers that let you iterate with agility and run workloads in any environment; highly automated and intelligent data centers; and a massive build-out of the distributed core at the edge. All AI-enabled. All secure. All seamless.”

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who helms the Dell Technologies company that has been a crown jewel in the digital transformation drive, said 2019 means doubling down with partners on innovation that allows customers to “securely run, deliver and manage any app, to any device on any cloud.”

For Gelsinger, the key to success for partners in 2019 is simple: “Take advantage of services that will meet your customer challenges as they live in a hybrid and multicloud world.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri, who earlier this year committed to investing $4 billion over the next four years to accelerate the intelligent edge revolution, said in 2019 HPE will be investing in an edge-to-cloud data platform, multi-cloud management through OneSphere, a consumption-based model with HPE GreenLake, and adoption of composable infrastructure.

Neri, who has transformed the $30 billion HPE into a leaner, more agile and sharply focused hybrid IT-intelligent edge company with his Next initiative, said HPE is focused on giving its partners a “unique, competitive and compelling proposition that no one else in the industry can offer.” That includes HPE GreenLake and GreenLake Flex Capacity, which has been hailed by partners as the first channel pay-per-use model that offers a viable alternative to public cloud.

Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins, the driving force behind transforming the $50 billion networking market leader into a software subscription superstar, said among the big investments the company is making in 2019 are automation architectures for multi-cloud, security and SD-WAN backed up by “cross-domain automation” with policy management.

Robbins’ key to success for Cisco, which spent $6.3 billion on R&D in 2018, and its partners: “To continue to deliver on this innovation pipeline against the architectural vision that we’ve laid out.”

For HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler, who has powered the $52 billion PC and printer giant into new markets like 3-D printing and the immersive 2-D/3-D Sprout Pro platform, the biggest investment the company will make in 2019 will be on “tools, analytics and automation that help reduce complexity and simplify our systems and processes.”

Weisler said that in 2019 HP will continue to face industry risks, challenges and market headwinds. “That’s just business,” he said. “To win, HP and our partners must leverage these changes to create new opportunities for growth.”

New opportunities for growth is indeed the theme for 2019. It’s a market rallying cry that solution providers said they are prepared to deliver upon in the new year.

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