Looking back at press coverage coming out of EMC World last week there’s one phrase that pops up time and time again – “Not your father’s EMC”. This clearly struck a chord with many of our customers and employees alike and a number of you have asked me for more.First of all, there are many great things about EMC that don’t need to change! There is a great heritage inside the company of doing what it takes to the keep customers happy… we have great relationships with many of the world’s largest companies and governments… and we have an expansive best-of-breed technology portfolio.But the world is changing.The way products will be built, evaluated, marketed, sold, used, serviced and supported is different in the 3rd platform. These changes force us to reevaluate everything we know about the traditional product lifecycle.Let’s start with building products. EMC’s traditional products – storage arrays – will be used for many years to come underneath traditional data center applications, Oracle databases and the like. But for new 3rd platform applications, much of the value within the infrastructure will be delivered entirely through software… running on common off-the-shelf hardware. We believe that much of this software will be created using community-based development – “open source.”The benefits to the customer are clear – more features, more quickly, without lock-in. “And free?” I hear you say. Not necessarily. I still believe that most customers will want to buy a complete working system (hardware + software + service) and for that they will be happy to pay. I do not believe we are heading back to a world where organizations buy component parts to spend days and weeks doing self-assembly.With that in mind, last week, we announced the CoprHD open source project, essentially a release of the ViPR Controller source code into the community. I’ve been very clear that this project is merely the first we’ve picked and it is a part of a much more expansive open source effort you’ll see roll out over the next year.Releasing the intellectual property of one of EMC’s mainstream products into the world of open source is not something we’ve ever done before. It’s a first – this is clearly not your fathers’ EMC.Next, evaluating products. I’ve long believed that the people who evaluate and use our products are not the people who buy them. Usually the ‘buying’ is done by corporate procurement. As the infrastructure world moves increasingly toward software it should be much easier for folks who evaluate and use our software to simply download the binaries and get going. They should not have to wait for a license agreement to be in place before doing so.With that in mind, last week, we announced the free download of ScaleIO – a software-defined block storage offering. It isn’t time-bombed. It isn’t feature-limited. It’s free for non-production use. Our belief is that if the users of our software like it, then they’ll recommend it and their procurement team will buy it for production use. Like open source, you should consider this free download as merely a first step and look forward to a much more expansive set of downloads over the next year.Releasing unlimited, full featured commercial software onto EMC.com for free download is not something we’ve ever done before. It’s a first – this is clearly not your fathers’ EMC.But we’re not stopping there. We’re moving aggressively towards online/social marketing, quoting and transacting through our web store, publishing our product documentation so it’s searchable by Google, educating through MOOCs and supporting through online discussion forums and communities. The goal? To eliminate as much friction as possible at every stage in the product lifecycle – making it easier for our customers and our partners to interact with EMC.Three years from now, I expect some parts of EMC will be the same as today, but many parts will look and feel very different from what we’ve always known. We’ll have the same high standard for quality, close relationships with customers, and we will continue to be a trusted place where people send their data for safe keeping, because their data is going to be their business. Those are the traits we want to keep. But the way we develop our products, the way we release our products, the way we sell them and the way we market them will be different. In the coming months and years, we’re going to adopt more digital techniques to give our customers the kind of experience they want. And that experience will not be your father’s EMC.
In a recent interview with IDG, I discussed how data driven marketing has accelerated the evolution of the modern CMO. Thanks to the increased insight presented by the sheer volume of Big Data, the role of today’s marketer has changed as dramatically as the tastes, needs and expectations of the customer. Ten years ago, before the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution were being felt globally, marketers thought in terms of “broad reach.” We had a message for all the world to hear, and we shouted it from the highest mountain top in an effort to connect with anyone who might be listening.What a difference a decade makes. As Dell EMC’s CONNECTED CUSTOMER booklet explains, the current specificity of customer detail at our disposal gives us the ability to hyper target our audience through a hyper personalized approach. This is of utmost importance, as it allows us to create messages and methods that are hyper relevant to today’s consumers. Dell EMC studies these trends and their impact on business, and the key question now becomes – what holds marketers back from taking the next step? The short answer is – the need to merge the needs and capabilities of marketing and technology into a cohesive strategy, which as we all know can be easier said than done.Formulating data strategies is top of mind for many CMOs, and to create successful campaigns we must first improve both the quality of our information and the way in which we form connections between previously unrelated groups. According to the 2017 Ascend2 report “Marketing Data Quality Trends,” over half of marketers worldwide plan on improving marketing data quality over the next year. However, 45% of global marketers also see improving marketing data quality as their biggest challenge. To make the best decisions informed by these results, we must constantly work to improve both the data itself and the ways in which we discover meaningful relationships between data streams.Grabbing the Technological Reins – a Practical GuideIt is certainly no industry secret that the promising CMO/CIO partnership is at the forefront of orchestrating any potent data driven marketing model. By aligning with the broader corporate digital transformation agenda, marketing can provide substantial value to the business and remain relevant throughout this transition. As I discussed in an earlier blog, general campaigns will be largely replaced by data driven campaigns informed by the scrutiny of a company’s data lake. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and actionable information will continue to refine these campaigns and their outcomes. To give you a taste of how quickly things are changing within the arena of data acquisition, Gartner has recently predicted that by 2021 voice and visual search analysis will increase customer revenue by a staggering 30%. This means that it is not just the message that must change – the methods must adapt as well.Forget Full-Control, Embrace Co-CreationThe newfound power granted to customers as a result of blogs, opinion sites, etc. has enabled them to insist on a more active role in the buying process. This means participating in a company’s strategy for generating its branding and storyline. As quoted on Media Post: “90% of those polled like the idea of custom content as a way for brands to engage them, 89% believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter, 93% like brands sharing interesting things they may not have otherwise seen, and 92% believe brands have expertise on topics and add value to content.” More than ever, we must rely on our customers’ needs and opinions to generate our marketing strategy. But how is this best accomplished?If CMOs can no longer fully define their brand’s identity and message, what are they to do? One option is co-creation, where customers can assist businesses in building and improving their brand. With this in mind, LEGO has introduced LEGO Ideas, which brings together building enthusiasts under the LEGO umbrella. Every year, the user-community selects a home-grown project and LEGO uses its vast distribution, marketing and sales muscle to sell it under their brand. This is no passing fad – the European Union sponsored Horizon 2020 program now funds co-creation initiatives with some €80 billion.The technological advances provided by the 4th industrial revolution offer a lot of promise, but a tool is only as powerful as the one who wields it. It is up to today’s marketer to harness this potential by enhancing strategic focus. Only in doing so can he or she continue to improve the customer’s buyer journey and take the company/customer relationship to the next level. With access to information ever-increasing, our customers are only going to get smarter. Why shouldn’t corporations follow suit?
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Shipping containers have become overflow mortuaries for the dead from COVID-19 in South Africa, while some other African nations are now looking to China for the next wave of vaccine doses. South Africa is working to launch its vaccination campaign in mid-February after its first delivery of 1 million vaccine doses. An additional 500,000 are coming later in February. South Africa has eased several restrictions as the numbers of cases and deaths have begun to drop, allowing alcohol sales to resume. The country has more than 40% of all cases reported across the African continent of 1.3 billion people.