We’re focused on adding more value to the existing IT infrastructure: Managing Director, Dell India

By Shrikanth G

Alok Ohrie, MD Dell India spoke to Dataquest on the sidelines of Dell World 2015 on how Dell has transformed over the years and the potential for Dell in India. Excerpts

How is Dell going to transit to the next orbit given the huge competencies it had built over the years?

Clearly, over the last few years we have transformed from being a one category few products company to a multiple categories very diversified products and services company. This transformation has come in after a single-minded focus we had in terms of our global strategy of becoming an end-to-end scalable solutions organization. The journey started in 2007-08, when the company decided that we would follow a three-pronged approach.

One, we will continue to invest internally and create our own IP, innovate, and bring in new products. Secondly, we would partner with other technology players in the market and collaborate with institutes for enhancing R&D initiatives and to work on new ideas. Finally, the third leg is acquisitions. As and when we see a gap we will make a strategic buy enhancing our competencies.

How this strategy panned out?
We have seen progress across the three dimensions. Our internal R&D has become much bigger and much more complex. Our engagement with other technology partners like Microsoft, Intel and whole lot of others are working seamlessly. And on the acquisition front, we have done several strategic acquisitions in the last eight years.

On the EMC deal
For us it’s all about having a leadership position in segments we operate. Today we are leaders in segments like PC, Servers and whole lot of categories. And with EMC and VMware, we have become leaders in storage and virtualization. The EMC deal also makes us the vendor of choice for clients to embark on digital transformation initiatives. Moreover the EMC deal transforms us into a massive technology powerhouse and positions us strongly to take on to the changing needs of the customers.

On VMware
They will continue to have the existing relationships in the market and will operate as an independent entity. What it does from competency perspective for us is to further strengthen our position in the virtualization and software defined space.

In the recent times there is a lot of talk about server innovation and traditional UNIX vendors are talking about UNIX on x86—what are your thoughts here?

Let me put this in a broader context. If you go back in time, the 1970 and 1980s was the period of mainframes – the first platform age. Then came the period of microprocessors, which acted as the great way of developing new platforms and whole lot of work went in creating servers, which were small in foot print and not as fast as mainframes.

But these servers when deployed in a distributed computing environment enabled clients to leverage mission critical workloads. The good part of the early 2000 was distributed computing and during that period, a whole lot of silos were formed. There was compute silo, storage silo and network silo. It’s only in later part of 2000, the realization came in that complexities in the datacenter was growing so much and managing datacenter in itself became challenge and the workloads have reached a maturity and to manage that effectively we brought in converged systems that offered physical consolidation and integration of compute, storage and networking, and all of that are in the same
physical box. Our FX range of converged systems is a classic example. I agree we do not have a proprietary UNIX operating system but we have a UNIX server, which is based on open platform and runs on x86 architecture. We have variants of Linux running on Red Hat, SUSE, etc.

Clearly, we don’t believe in locking the customer with one platform like the competition which has the legacy UNIX and they started wooing customers to UNIX on x86.

Finally, with all the competencies how do you see India as geography for Dell?

We see huge potential in India. When I look at the market in India, on the one hand the consolidation is going on in the industry and on the other hand we see a lot of companies seeing disruption in their own businesses. But Dell as a company is extremely focused on serving the customers and bent on adding more value to their existing IT infrastructure. The more I move around with customers in India, they are today looking at partners who can help them in their digital transformation journey or seek help in building the future ready infrastructure. We are very well positioned to meet these requirements. Our acceptance in the market has been very encouraging and in the last 2.5 years I see from the time we went private, we have seen our fortunes really change and we have emerged as a very strong player in the market. We today enjoy leader ship position across categories we operate in and Dell in India is on a very strong growth trajectory.

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