Sweat the Small Stuff

first_imgCollaboration is the essential ingredient for intelligent “workplace” teams, as studies have told us for decades — yet for many enterprise organizations today, working together easily still remains elusive.I can point to a few reasons historically for this failure, but more hopefully, I see multiple trends that will change our future.Turn Quadrants Upside DownFirst, for the past twenty years or more, the team collaboration topic has often been approached with the classic 1970 Boston Consulting mindset: solve the largest problem for the largest gain. In fact, coming at “working together” from an individual user-based perspective is a better strategy in today’s product-as-a-service world.I would argue that IT apps should eliminate small, frustrating, and painful tasks to create instant user gratification. Doing this repeatedly over time, I believe, earns loyalists who are thrilled to use your collaboration tools and are then highly productive.Take the common collaboration roadblock of trying to share a file. Fixing this alone might dislodge the majority of pain holding back teamwork in your enterprise.In a typical scenario, a team working together wants to share a large PowerPoint file, but IT blocks large file sends through email. Instead, IT could enable shared folders with a smart phone app, then allow easily copy/pasted folder links sent in email. Work teams would gain immediate file access, even while traveling, to keep collaboration going.All it takes is prioritizing the user pain.Focusing on improving one small productivity task increases the likelihood of it getting solved. Choosing to solve the most frustrating or inhibiting user problems generates rampant user engagement – top criteria for enterprise software success in a cloud future.Similarly, using apps that do one thing well can drive productivity through the roof. Sweating the small stuff that holds users back will pay off in team motivation and their day-to-day ability to work together productively.Respect Muscle MemorySecond, old yet productive working habits have been outright forsaken for the new. If colleagues are adept with email and use it fluently, incorporate that habit into the newest services you deliver.Allow teams to continue using email as a sharing mechanism while taking away its inefficiencies. Better yet, give them improvements, such as protection from malicious email attachments.Habits are embedded in muscle memory. The fewer you have to change, the better. How much are your collaboration apps undoing productivity for the sake of productivity?Adapt to Users, Not to InitiativesFinally, rethink what’s causing frustration or creating inefficiencies in your teams in the first place. Does solving the root cause of working together really require a complete technical rearchitecture?Considering that the tenure of corporate leaders continues to drop, fitting collaboration projects into smaller 1-2 year efforts with rapid iteration cycles is critical. Look for creative and innovative solutions that keeps users productive first.My favorite example is that you don’t have to reconfigure SAP and change your invoice processing workflow just to solve getting SOWs signed. We simply incorporated electronic signatures into our file sharing app. If an executive is on the road, no need to print, sign, fax and return a document. Just fingertip sign and click to share, all in one place.Enterprises have enough company-wide initiatives to drive, and coming at collaboration as an entire reconfiguration can lose steam before it ever delights a single user. Adapt your collaboration services to users first, so approved apps are immediately desirable at the grassroots level. And rethink functionality from the user level to uncover potentially simple, shorter-term solutions.Why the Future Looks BrighterOf course, hindsight is 20/20, and there have been valiant attempts to make collaboration better. Recent studies are looking at how to design the smartest teams possible in the first place so they’re predestined to collaborate, for example.But from a technology perspective, I see several trends that were not pervasive decades ago. These have changed behaviors and laid the groundwork for us to come at collaboration differently. This is why I’m hopeful things will change for the better.For IT, for example, the ease of delivering incremental software changes to users has greatly improved. Users know how to self-procure apps. They are on the lookout for, and willing to try, better ways of working. IT can take advantage of this new mindset by delivering the best user-loved solutions. IT can lead impactful changes that address strategic organizational needs, like productivity and global collaboration.Vendors have changed as well, amidst the popularity of smart devices. The constraints of small screen sizes have forced the quality of software to improve. Only the most essential functions can be presented to today’s users, who are constantly swiping and mobile. This mobile design discipline has made it a requirement to do less things very well, rather than delivering distracting or unused feature sets that might slow users down.These future trends and an understanding of past failures can help us, as leaders, navigate to gain incredible team efficiencies in the present. Start by solving the painful annoyances that hold teamwork back; carry forward learned productivity habits that work; and focus on users, not initiatives.last_img read more

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The Next Evolution of Converged Infrastructure Solutions

first_imgThe current state of the IT industry reminds me of the saying, “May you live in interesting times.” These are interesting times indeed for CIOs and IT leaders dealing with rapid change across multiple dimensions from technology to economics to organizational culture & skill sets. The primary goal of IT engineers today is to stitch together individual technologies into an end-to-end service while balancing design and operational complexity in the Data Center. Companies are moving to agile business models which require IT teams to respond rapidly to business and end user requirements while actively managing operational costs.Technology companies are rightly proud of their component innovations, but IT organizations today are less interested in the infrastructure components and more focused on architectures that solve the real problems they face. We consistently hear the need for a solutions approach that combines the hardware and software infrastructure with a management and orchestration framework that can deliver rigorous SLAs for availability, performance and cost.VCE epitomizes the solutions approach to innovation. In 2009, we pioneered the Converged Infrastructure concept to help IT teams rapidly deploy new technology components in a state-of-the-art infrastructure that just works. As a foundational building block in data centers worldwide today, the Vblock platform delivers a high performance, highly available infrastructure which dramatically simplifies the operational environment.Looking ahead, we see Converged Infrastructure evolving along two axes – along the horizontal with new variations of Converged Infrastructure platforms, and along the vertical by expanding the scope of Converged Infrastructure, extending from physical hardware elements to include application and cloud infrastructure.From a platform perspective, VCE believes that IT teams expect solutions that are built for data center scale, and optimized for mixed workloads with simplified operations and lifecycle support. This week we are launching VCE’s Vscale architecture for data center scale infrastructure, our new VxBlock platforms that enable technology choice, and our Vision 3.0 Converge software. These offerings – with the VSPEX BLUE hyper-converged appliance and EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution – give us the most comprehensive set of platforms and the only fully integrated cloud solution in the industry.VCE’s close partnership with IT teams to design, deploy, support and scale Converged Infrastructure solutions from platforms up to the application and cloud layer uniquely positions us to innovate and redefine the market. As we look ahead, you can expect to see VCE deliver new platforms and solutions in rapid intervals along both axes, becoming a true Converged Solutions provider.We live in interesting times indeed …Onwards and upwards!last_img read more

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Let the Transformation Begin

first_imgIn a few weeks’ time all eyes will turn to Austin, where the sun is warm, the finest food comes on trucks and the music never stops. Yes, I’m talking about Dell EMC World (Oct 18 – 20), the biggest enterprise technology event of the year and our first big event as Dell EMC.Bigger and better than ever, Dell EMC World will be full of technical and strategy sessions, as well as a CxO event with tracks for both commercial and enterprise-sized businesses. The Converged Platforms and Solutions Division will be a critical part of the event and we’ll be showcasing the full range of our build to buy continuum, from validated systems to engineered solutions.There’ll be plenty of new announcements which we can’t wait to share with our customers, partners and the industry. I won’t be letting the cat out of the bag if I mentioned that one of these announcements will be about the mighty PowerEdge servers which have taken the market by storm to become the market share leader as recognized by the Gartner and IDC quarterly market share report. Customers are at the heart of everything we do and our customers are demanding that we expand the reach and scope of our HCI platforms in order to give them more choice and flexibility, and do so at a better price point. I assure you we will not disappoint them.In other news our Hybrid Cloud Platform team is working apace on an analytics platform and I can’t wait to share more details about that.From an event participation perspective Chad Sakac, president of the Converged  Platforms and Solutions Division will be joining Jeremy Burton in a General Session: Transforming IT: From the edge, to the core, to the cloud. Featuring an all-star cast from various divisions within the company they’ll be showcasing the real heroes of Dell EMC World: the incredible new products and solutions destined to defeat any IT challenges they come up against.Chad Sakac will answer all your questions on whether hyper-converged or converged is the right option for your business or if you should build or buy your infrastructure in a breakout session that will explain the benefits of modernizing your data center wherever you stand on the buy or build continuum.Want to find out why developers love the Native Hybrid Cloud platform? Don’t miss Chad Sakac at the Dell EMC World Live Tech Chat with Barton George where they will discuss the importance of speeding up application development for the new digital enterprise.For those who are not attending the event – you can catch the keynotes and highlight session via the virtual event.  You can be social with us by following the #DellEMCWorld hashtag to see what is happening at the show and what is being announced.  Also stop by the booth and tweet why #VxRailRocks to collect a prize from the VxRail Locker.With Alabama Shake providing entertainment – it’s promising to be an event the size of Texas and I can’t wait to touch down in Austin!See you on the other side.last_img read more

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Virtual Reality: Beyond the Hype and Ready for Business

first_imgIn recent years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies have operated with a bit of hype—and C-suite skepticism—about their potential business use in practical applications. Of course, most will concede VR’s use in gaming. And, to “see” state-of-the-art military use of AR, they need look no further than the $400,000 F-35 pilot’s helmet. But, fact is, both are ready to transform the workplace by unleashing new waves of productivity in workers and professionals alike, thanks to powerful underlying technologies.AR and VR: What’s the difference?For people not staying up to date with AR and VR news, the two technologies might seem to mix their capabilities and applications. But to be clear, AR overlays data onto users’ views of their environments, and VR provides a totally immersive, simulated experience.An example of the former would be an AR industrial hard hat with a visor worn by workers on the floor of a petrochemical refinery. The visor’s margins would provide the interface for overlaying visualization of real-time, plant operational data, while the worker’s visual field out into the plant would remain unimpeded.An example of the latter is the VR headset that’s reportedly aboard the International Space Station. It surrounds astronaut users’ visual fields with a totally simulated environment to help train them in new critical procedures. In turn, it uses eye-tracking technology to provide a feedback loop to the software driving the training simulation — and to ground controllers, who can collaborate in the training.Powerful enabling technologies are keyThe secret to liberating AR and VR from the realm of science fiction is a combination of increasingly powerful hardware and software technologies. Developers now have massive processing power for desktop use as well as in portable form factors for field use.Take the new Dell Precision 7720 mobile workstation, for example. As Dell’s first VR-ready mobile model, it features the fastest Intel® Xeon™ processors available. These are supported with up to 64GB of compute RAM and 16GB of graphics RAM, plus fast SSD or HDD storage of up to 4TB.Hardware that’s so powerful yet portable unhitches AR and VR developers from fixed laboratories, so they can create enterprise solutions in the field, where users are. This can accelerate solutions development tremendously by helping to enable rapid prototyping around user activities, while effectively eliminating cycles of field testing.Then there are software advancements. At SXSW 2017 in March, Dell hosted the #Dell Experience VR Panel. One of the panelists was Michael Gold, co-founder and CEO of Holojam. His company provides a drag-and-drop platform for creators of AR and VR content and applications. There’s no need for custom code or expensive motion-capture stages, as was the case until recently.In effect, Holojam’s platform provides tools to expand the potential of AR and VR for use in business. And we can expect that many more companies will lower the entry barriers for AR and VR, just as video editing software on smartphones has enabled feature-length films to be shot without multimillion-dollar budgets.Examples of practical applications are growingOne of the most promising fields for practical applications of AR and VR is training. Most everyone has heard of flight simulators, the multimillion-dollar airline cockpits moved around by robotic arms in response to actions by the pilot trainees inside. AR and VR promise to condense all that into a headset.In addition to VR’s use in the space station, NASA is also using VR on the ground to train astronauts in spacewalking. AR and VR technologies are helping to train technicians in repairing complex infrastructure, too. Likewise, they can help surgeons acquire new techniques without putting patients at risk during the learning process.Speaking of healthcare, one of the panelists on the Dell SXSW 2017 VR panel was Dr. Skip Rizzo. As a psychologist at the University of Southern California, he uses VR to treat people with anxiety, PTSD and other neuropsychiatric disorders. His approach is now employed at Veterans Affairs hospitals, military bases and universities across the U.S.Architecture, construction and product development — or just about any discipline using computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering — can also benefit from AR and VR applications. These applications can immerse project stakeholders inside life-sized 3D simulations of their creations so they can work out design issues and limitations before sinking large amounts of capital into building or manufacturer.*         *          *Many more examples exist of how AR and VR technologies are finding their way into practical applications for business, industry, healthcare, education and other fields. We can expect gains in computing power and density to continue, while independent software developers, such as Holojam, accelerate their drive to bring new tools and applications to market. It finally appears that the hype around AR and VR is over and that both are here—for real.Find out more about how Dell EMC customer Solidray, a VR pioneer, uses Dell Precision Tower 5000 Series and Alienware Gaming Desktops to develop low-cost, head-mounted displays.last_img read more

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Meet New Dell Technologies IoT GM Ray O’Farrell

first_imgAt Dell Technologies we have a vision for how the new world of IoT comes together – how our businesses can help drive human progress by transforming IoT into IQT or the IQ of Things.To enable this vision, we unveiled a new IoT division that will help our customers navigate across all the Dell Technologies’ brands. This new IoT division will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell, and I caught up with him just before today’s event to ask what it means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.Congratulations on your new role. How has your work as VMware’s CTO prepared you for it?While I am currently the VMware CTO, most of my time at VMware was spent running product development teams and this has required me to partner closely with customers and leverage a broad ecosystem as we take products to market. As CTO, one of my main focus areas is on long-term technology research, innovation and market trends. I have also been responsible for ensuring VMware’s successful partnerships across the industry with a focus on the Dell Technologies family of businesses. I plan to leverage these these experiences as I take on this additional responsibility of general manager for Dell Technologies’ IoT division.Can you tell us more about your new responsibilities?Our new IoT division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem. To prepare for that, I have been working with a small team across Dell Technologies and have been interviewing customers, partners and IoT experts to help build this division.We’ll continue to do research that will help us prepare for building future IoT products and solutions, while also aligning current offerings across the Dell Technologies businesses to deliver unified solutions to our customers and ecosystem.What are you most excited about as you look forward?I am excited about the fourth industrial revolution that we are embarking into. As Jeremy Burton has noted, it’s a revolution that will impact every company in every industry. I’m equally excited to be leading this new Dell Technologies division. Given our rich history in the edge computing market, we have an outstanding opportunity to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.What are the leadership traits the IoT market requires?The most important trait is listening – it is vitally important to understand the business need and impact your customer is trying achieve by leveraging IoT. The second most important trait is spending time with our partners, many IoT solutions are vertical within a given industry requiring you to partner deeply with the experts in that specific field.Get to know another side of O’Farrell by watching the latest edition of our Meet the Leaders video series:last_img read more

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Has Your Cloud Strategy Turned Dark and Stormy?

first_imgThe cloud you and your departments choose now will affect the data center administration for years to come. Many customers have been shown the sunny side of cloud deployments and been attracted by the model of enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. The silver lining here being that in theory you can deploy instances that scale to almost any degree and turn off what you don’t use when you are not using it. Additionally, you could reduce the number of staff or systems administrators that you employ due to readily available scripting and lack of immediate hardware to operate. While these benefits would solve immediate departmental needs or might seem immediately gratifying, we are seeing that an increased number of customers have had their cloud deployments escalate in cost, and complexity, and be struck by data security concerns. To that end, for some customers it makes greater long-term business sense to go with an on-premise cloud infrastructure utilizing Dell EMC PowerEdge servers coupled with VMware tools.On-premise hybrid cloud deployments enabled by server virtualization and advanced features found within VMware tools mean that you can support workloads and use cases while keeping pace with the growing need and complexity of your business without losing control. It also allows you to address security, compliance, and maintain performance for the critical applications that protect your company and customers.When you solely rely on a public cloud such as Amazon Web Service or Azure instances, there are expenses that come with each subscription tier, meaning you run the risk of paying more than expected whenever you exceed your allotment. High memory instances with many virtual CPUs can easily escalate costs beyond $10,000 per month per server. Auto Scaling that automatically adjusts to capacity can quickly escalate costs even further.Principled Technologies has conducted testing to actively compare Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud solutions vs. deploying Dell EMC PowerEdge FX2 servers and software.If you pick the right tools, an on-premises cloud is as easy to manage as a public cloud. Moving to a public cloud is not a surefire way to cut admin costs. Still don’t believe me? Let me cast away any further public cloud concerns.Hands-on testing conducted at Principled Technologies shows a cost savings over three years with 34% fewer steps for eight common management tasks. This significantly reduces the opportunities for errors and potential downtime.Read the full story on both comparison reports here:Save money over 3 years with a Dell EMC PowerEdge FX2 solution for big dataRead the full report and check out the infographic.Get the advantages of an on-premises Dell EMC PowerEdge FX2 private cloud solutionRead the full report and check out the infographic.last_img read more

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Dell Precision Workstations Get Smaller, Faster and Cooler

first_imgThe new Dell Precision 3550 and 3551 mobile workstations offer workstation-class reliability and performance at an accessible price point. They are ideal for users with less intensive graphic needs, like those working on 2D CAD, heavy Excel workbooks or entry-level creative applications.Photo courtesy of Dell Client Technologist, Amit BhagaThe cool factor – intelligent design inside and out Rigorous tasks and high-performance applications often result in the creation of more heat. Dell engineers have developed thermal design solutions to overcome the challenge of balancing the high performance of CPU/GPU concurrency and higher wattage graphics power despite the reduction in footprint the new mobile workstations. Examples include the adoption of dual opposite outlet fans that dissipate heat quickly, alongside thinner vapor chambers in the place of some heat pipes. Software-based thermal management solutions, high-tech Gore technology insulation layers, plus graphite spreaders and copper materials provide impressive thermal performance. Learn more about Dell’s innovative thermal design here.New Space-Saving Compact Solutions Our expansive professional portfolio allows you to customize your workstation for your unique needs, workloads and budget. Dell’s innovative engineering and design isn’t limited to our mobile workstation portfolio. Today, we’re also announcing upcoming additions to our entry-level tower workstation line up, including a brand-new ultra-small form factor (USFF) workstation, the Dell Precision 3240 Compact.Designed for the tightest workspaces and Edge Computing workloads, this small (2.3L) yet powerful system can push up to seven 4k displays and will be ready for VR, with NVIDIA Quadro RTX™ 3000 professional graphics. Available from Q3 2020, this ultra-small form factor workstation is perfect for use in schools, factories, retail, and trading floor environments, where space is a premium.We’re also introducing the new Dell Precision 3640 Tower workstation and Dell Precision 3440 small form factor (SFF) workstation, available from July. They are perfect for content creators and engineers working with 3D or complex 2D graphics, as well as power users working with large data sets and complicated analysis that require ISV certification. These scalable and affordable systems offer a range of high-performance options for productivity and accessible ports for connectivity.Optimized for your unique workloads As with all Dell Precision workstations, we collaborate with Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to test and optimize these systems to give you the best user experience possible. Additionally, the new Dell Optimizer for Precision, exclusive to Dell, is now included on these platforms. Dell Optimizer for Precision is the only AI-based optimization software in the industry that automatically tunes your application performance using machine learning.We’re excited to share our latest innovations with you – Dell Precision customers are doing some of the most ground-breaking, innovative work out there, and we can’t wait to see what you create with these new products!Featured photo courtesy of Mark Mann Photography¹ Based on Dell analysis using publicly available data, January 2020. The smallest refers total surface area of the mobile workstations.² Weights vary depending on configuration and manufacturing variability.³ When equipped with Intel® Xeon® W-10885M (2.40 GHz to 5.30 GHz), 128GB ECC/nECC RAM, NVIDIA Quadro RTX5000 (16G) graphics running at 80W. Based on Dell analysis of competitive products using publicly available data, March 2020.4 Based on Dell internal analysis, January 2020. Smaller refers total surface area of mobile workstations. High-end application users working in mission-critical workflows have historically relied on desktop workstations to provide the power and performance they required. And back when “work” was viewed as a destination, it didn’t matter. However, the workplace is changing. Whether customers are working on ground-breaking healthcare research, designing innovative engineering solutions or editing the next big TV series, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice performance for portability.Today, we announced the biggest updates to Dell’s mobile workstation line since we first introduced the award-winning Dell Precision M3800 in 2013. Our product and engineering teams continue to redefine the mobile workstation category. With this mobile workstation lineup, we believe we’ve found the perfect combination of power and style. We’re bringing award-winning Dell design and combining it with the latest thermal innovations, professional graphics and powerful CPU technologies into sleek devices to deliver heavy-duty performance wherever your work takes you.Designed for professional creators and engineers in mind, our smallest and thinnest mobile workstations¹ are the Dell Precision 5550 and the brand-new Dell Precision 5750. These 15- and 17-inch workstations feature stunning 4-sided InfinityEdge 16:10 aspect ratio displays and a top bezel Infrared camera for maximum screen real estate and an improved video conferencing experience. Starting at 4lbs and 4.7lbs², with a 92 percent & 94 percent display/body ratio respectively, they perfectly balance power, style and mobility in a lightweight aluminum package. The Dell Precision 5750 also joins the 7000 series in the NVIDIA® RTX Studio program, with the availability of NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ 3000 graphics. Photo courtesy of @SavageGeeseEven the world’s most powerful 15” and 17” mobile workstations³, with impressive scalability, the Dell Precision 7550 and 7750, are now around 20 percent smaller and 6 percent lighter than previous generations.4 Now available with new top-firing speakers, ambient sensing and low blue light displays provide a more immersive feel and sound. With the latest Intel® Core™, vPro® and Xeon® processors combined with up to NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ 5000 professional graphics, these workhorse devices can handle VR/AR, AI, complex 3D CAD as well as creative editing workloads and data science computing applications with ease.last_img read more

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