Dell Technologies Head Of Strategy On Biggest Initiatives Around Software, Simplification And Establishing 'Defendable Positions'

Dell's Strategic Imperatives

Dell Technologies' strategy is to protect and extend its core markets, leverage hardware to drive software innovation and become the "essential infrastructure" company of the future, said Dennis Hoffman, senior vice president and head of Dell Technologies corporate strategy.

"My job working for [Dell CEO] Michael [Dell] is to make certain that Dell Technologies has a winning strategy and we're actually executing on it," said Hoffman during his presentation at solution provider Atos' Global Analyst Conference in Boston Thursday.

Hoffman is responsible for executing Dell's strategic management process, development of overarching corporate strategy and coordination of the company's strategically aligned businesses. CRN breaks down Hoffman's largest strategic imperatives for Dell.

'Protect And Extend' Core Markets Through Simplification

Job one is to protect and extend our core positions. Our core positions tend to be in IT infrastructure, mostly hardware, but quite a bit of software as well if you include the broader Dell Technologies family, including VMware, Pivotal and RSA. But certainly core storage, server, PC markets – these markets are flat to declining markets. We are usually No. 1 or No. 2 in almost all of them, and we are very much trying to help consolidate those markets and grow our share accordingly. We're embracing growth technologies within them.

We put together two very big companies [through the merger of Dell and EMC]. We are an $80 billion diversified computer company at this point with a lot of products. So simplify the product offerings and be precise about what we want to deliver to our customers is key in reducing complexity both for us and our customers.

'We Are Really A Software Company'

We have something like 140,000 employees, and [roughly] 40,000 of those are engineers and there's [roughly] 400 hardware engineers. It's interesting, we're viewed as a hardware company, but in fact, we are really a software company. Hardware is often just a delivery vehicle for a lot of what we do. Investment in software and increasingly thinking about software as a platform is enormous within our strategy. It tends to manifest itself more to our strategically aligned businesses – VMware, Pivotal, to a certain extent RSA.

Establish 'Defendable Positions' In Emerging Technologies

We want to establish defendable positions in some very interesting emerging technologies: application development platforms, workload management and orchestration, and software-defined almost anything – software-defined networking, storage and software-defined compute, otherwise known as virtualization. The first two really sets us up and says, 'We are a product technology company.'

Deeper Partnerships

For us to deliver our strategy, we must partner deeply to deliver solutions and to sell vertically. Part of being such a product-centric company is we're very horizontal in our approach to the marketplace. … So we're very much partnering with our peers with folks in the industry to help deliver solutions, sell vertically – that's everything from cloud service providers to digital-centric system integrators.

Become The 'Essential Infrastructure' Company Of The Future

We divested Dell services. We divested [VMware's] vCloud Air, and really began to clean up the portfolio to drive forward Michael [Dell's] vision that the world is going to need an essential infrastructure company. It might not be the sexiest play in IT, but absolutely at the end of the day, all this stuff has got to run on something. We're proud to be that something.