As I took in the sights and sounds of Dell World earlier this month in Austin, and more importantly, soaked in the palpable and almost inescapable buzz surrounding Dell’s information management capabilities, I kept coming back to the same thought: What a difference a year makes.
This year marked the fourth annual iteration of the event, and the third I’ve had the pleasure of attending as a member of the Dell team. Since its inception, Dell World has been nothing short of a marquee industry event, its agenda lined with preeminent speakers, informative sessions, rich networking opportunities and world-class entertainers. So it spoke volumes – about both the progress Dell has made as a leading provider of information management solutions and the growing importance of information management to customers – that big data, data analytics, and the ability of companies to transform data into insights was front and center throughout the event.
There’s no greater endorsement of an IT trend’s importance to Dell as a company and to the industry at large than when Michael Dell makes it the focal point of his opening keynote address at Dell World, and this year, that address focused on “The Power and Promise of the Data Economy.” As Michael made crystal clear in his speech, the road to competitive advantage in today’s economy is paved with data, and organizations that seize the opportunities afforded by the data economy will be the ones that succeed.
A huge part of doing that, of course, is leveraging modern advanced analytics to better understand your businesses, predict change, increase agility and control critical systems. So it should be no surprise then that Michael’s keynote was followed by a fantastic panel discussion on modern data analysis featuring Dell Software’s own Dr. Thomas Hill, one of founding minds behind the creation of the Statistica advanced analytics platform Dell acquired from StatSoft earlier this year. My opinion is biased, of course, but I thought Dr. Hill was hands down the star of that particular show.
But it wasn’t just the keynote. Information management was everywhere at Dell World. No less than 10 sessions during the event focused on the need to analyze, integrate and manage data and information, including in-depth technical sessions on realizing the power of connected intelligence with Toad for Oracle and performing customer churn analysis with Statistica, as well as broader discussions on the importance of making data the lifeblood of your business. I personally had the pleasure of dropping by the Dell World News Desk to discuss the importance of turning data into insights, and our vice president and GM Matt Wolken had a similar dialogue with our good friends at theCUBE.
Speaking of news, it wouldn’t be Dell World without some major announcements, and in that regard, information management stood out. This year, we announced two major initiatives that will drive our analytics capabilities forward. First and foremost, we announced the start of a new collaborative effort with Microsoft aimed at enabling customers to perform powerful predictive analytics capabilities within a scalable, cost-effective hybrid cloud environment. The effort enables customers to use Statistica in tandem with the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Service. In addition, we also announced that we are upgrading Statistica with enhanced big data capabilities through integration with Kitenga.
Of course, while we’re thrilled to see information management taking on a growing importance across Dell, and more importantly, across our customer base, we really are just getting started. We have many new initiatives we’ll be unveiling – and major announcements we’ll be making – in the coming months, and by the time Dell World 2015 rolls around, I have no doubt that I’ll again marvel at what a difference a year makes.