The Dawn of a New ERAA

With the speed of innovation and rate of technological change today, it’s critical that everyone in the ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) ecosystem be aware of new technology inflections, and explore new technology directions and educational opportunities that will enable them to deliver to the business imperatives that emerge.

Dell Technologies recently partnered with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to explore how some of those emerging technologies such as AI, Robotics, VR, AR and Cloud Computing will shape the future. In the recently released report, “Next Era of Human-Machine Partnerships,” one of the key findings is that people will be learning “in the moment,” as the pace of change will be so rapid that new industries will be created and new skills will be required to survive.

In order to stay ahead of that rapid pace of change, companies must innovate. Innovation is the lifeblood of Dell EMC and critical to us as well as to our customers’ success and competitive differentiation.

To address and meet the demands of innovation for the digital economy, our External Research and Academic Alliances (ERAA) team, as part of the Dell EMC Global Office of the CTO, explores emerging technologies (“horizon watching”) and new business opportunities/skills that will be required for the “Next ERAA”.

We explore, engage and share knowledge with leading global researchers and faculties across the ecosystem to increase our speed and breadth of innovation. It’s not just a monetary investment, it’s a collaborative engagement with our Dell EMC technology thought leaders, sharing in an open and sometimes unexpected environment. For example, what’s a cranberry farm have do with IoT/sensor networks? The partnership accomplishes more than you can imagine.

Sometimes, the outcome of the explorations might be “understanding what NOT to do, which can be as important as understanding what to do”.

ERAA plays an active role as a community partner to share knowledge gained from these engagements to build the education and knowledge base for future innovators. By collaborating with 2700+ academic institutions in 93 countries through our Academic Alliance Education Program, we’ve closed the growing technology skills gap for over 640,000 students since the program’s inception and contributed a global in kind value of $265M in educational support for 2016.

The Academic Alliance Education Program offers unique ‘open’ curriculum-based education on technology topics such as cloud computing, big data analytics, and information storage and management (such as our free foundational IT courses). We also access and share a number of other educational opportunities, which includes a close partnership with the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been. We’ve democratized information and changed the way we live, learn and communicate.” –Michael Dell

Are you interested in innovating with us for the Next ERAA to keep changing the way we live, learn, and communicate? Please reach out to me directly at

About the Author: Deborah Stokes

Deborah R. Stokes is the Director, External Research and Academic Alliances for Dell EMC. In this role, she is responsible for research and education programs, collaborating across the R&D ecosystem, as part of the Office of the CTO. Deborah has served in various technology leadership positions including business development, advanced technology, product development, marketing, and operations for over 25 years in large global technology firms such as Nortel and Huawei. She also has additional experience in the education vertical. Deborah serves on several local business committees and various university advisory boards. She has numerous publications in the technology management field, and has filed a patent on measuring the ROI from university investments. Deborah has a BS in Business Administration, and completed her Executive MBA at the University of Texas at Dallas, with a focus on "Managing for Change".