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Dell uses Bengaluru team's innovations in servers globally: Karinne Brannigan of Dell Technologies

Nevin John     October 16, 2019

India is the second fastest growing market for Dell Technologies with around $3 billion in revenue and with sizable market share across product portfolios such as storage, servers, networking, desktops, virtualisation software and data protection software. The $92 billion company has invested $12.8 billion globally, over the past 3 years in research and development (R&D). It invests significantly in India considering its size and scale and the growth potential. "The company is now yielding the benefits of its merger with EMC that happened in 2016," tells Karinne Brannigan, Senior Vice President - Asia Pacific and Japan Marketing, Dell Technologies.

Business Today: Tell us about company's overall growth, especially after acquiring EMC and VMware.

Karinne: It has been three-odd years since acquisitions. These were considered among one of the largest acquisitions in the IT sector at that time. Fast-forward to today, Harvard Business Review has ranked us at 19 among top twenty transformers in terms of companies. We are glad to make the list with companies such as Netflix and Adobe, who are doing excellent job and are very transformative. If you think about what the company has to offer across the brands and the growth of what is happening in the world today, you would realise that emerging technologies such as IoT, 5G, and machine learning consume huge amount of data that requires infrastructure support.

Dell has been growing across the product portfolio. We went back to public last year after being private and we are now a $92-billion company. We have taken the aspects of the assets that we have in the company, which has made us successful. When the companies came together few years ago, it was about a bunch of things that we were doing well. Post acquisitions, we were able to leverage and integrate them even better. We have Dell Technologies cloud, which is built on VMware and Dell EMC's VxRail.

So, we brought everything together in perfect synergy and focussed towards making the right solutions to solve some of the challenges that our customers have today.

Can you elaborate on the Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) region and the kind of growth it has achieved over the years.

Karinne: APJ region is growing faster than other regions for Dell. The biggest market of concern is North America for us, followed by Europe, Middle East and India. However, considering the growth in APJ region and India, we are doing quite well. In terms of percentage, our growth is the highest considering Dell is present in mature and emerging markets.

Taking into account trends in cloud, we find mature markets such as Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) and Japan, which definitely want to move to cloud. But, the timeline is not long because of the legacy application. South Asian companies can move straight to the cloud, because they are not held back by the constraints of legacy infrastructure. There are other mature markets such as Korea with online banks and no physical infrastructure.

India has embraced mobile with over a billion users leveraging internet on their mobiles with the onset of 5G and faster connection. Telcos are now being able to deploy apps that were not accessible a few years ago. This is going to generate a lot of data, which is going to go to telcos that drive opportunity to people or companies like us to leverage the data with machine learning and AI together to get better insights. The way data is growing is huge and some of those trends are important.

Considering India is one of the growing markets, with a lot of disruptions in the technology sector, what are the kind of investments Dell is doing in India?

Karinne: Some of the technology investments we are making in India are into enabling financial models to provide better choices to customers. Some of our product development and R&D are done in Bengaluru, where the team innovates around servers that are then used globally.

We are investing a lot in people, education and building relationships with academia with an objective to help the overall diversity and get females into the industry. We take initiatives for our employees. This has probably been the most important investment that we have made in terms of culture. A company can have right products and solutions but if the team is not right, there cannot be a right execution. CEO Michael Dell has a strong focus on bringing people together and defining the company's culture. Dell has put a lot of work into defining and understanding what the culture needs and how it should evolve. The combined efforts of Dell Technologies post Dell-EMC merger has been an incredible journey for us.

Where does India stand in the pecking order for Dell from the business point of view?

Karinne: India is an important market for us. Dell Technologies is among the fastest growing companies in emerging markets. APJ, ANZ, Japan and India are really big markets. India's scale is significant and as the infrastructure gets better, so do the opportunity and the growth. We have everything from dedicated consumer, small and medium businesses to commercial enterprises in India. It is the only country outside of the US that has every single business entity existing in the US. There is analytics, financial services, sales and marketing and contact centres that make India a very important market for us.

Tell us about your commitment towards R&D.

Karinne: R&D is important for Dell Technologies and our commitment towards it is bigger than some other companies in the same space. There are certain areas that need to be structured to provide unified solutions from across the company. Dell Technologies has evolved its go-to-market to make the technology easier for customers and take next steps accordingly.

What has enabled us to serve our customers better is our continuous investment in R&D. We are investing $4.5 billion in R&D annually. India is an innovation hub for Dell globally. The India R&D team stands tall, contributing 60 per cent to overall server systems management software with grounds-up engineering of the 14th generation servers covering three key tenets of scalability, intelligent automation and integrated security.

Driving innovation is a key priority across all our R&D set-ups in India and is at the heart of Dell's transformation journey fuelling global growth. India R&D is at the core of Dell's enterprise strategy. India R&D team now contributes to a full cycle of innovation on Dell's enterprise future-ready solutions: storage, server and networking.

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