One of the many things the pandemic taught us is that technology is key to driving business continuity, so we believe that technology will play a key role in paving the way to economic recovery, writes By Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President – MERAT, Dell Technologies.

Organisations across every sector embraced digital transformation at a faster pace than ever before. From enabling remote work to enhancing infrastructure and security strategies, there was an increased demand for efficient, agile and secure solutions.

In fact, the Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index study showed that 80% of businesses globally accelerated their digital transformation plans, with 79% reinventing their business model as a result of disruption caused by the pandemic. In South Africa, the study showed that South African organisations are succeeding in their digital transformation efforts compared to the rest of the world. 51% of South African organisations were classed in the top two categories – Digital Adopters and Digital Leaders – compared to 45% globally. The data shows that South African organisations have transitioned from planning their digital transformation efforts to comprehensively implementing them

Over the past 18-24 months, customers looked to Dell Technologies for our end-to-end product lines that are helping businesses transform their IT strategies and infrastructure. From creating remote workforces with our leading line up of laptops, monitors and virtualised infrastructure to protecting critical data and applications, we have best-of-breed products that can cater to anything our customers need.

Our line-up of ‘Power’ branded product lines extends across our storage, servers, data protection and networking portfolios. We also expanded our as-a-Service capabilities, offering flexible payment options to give organisations greater access to technology across Dell Technologies’ infrastructure stack including compute, storage, networking, virtualisation and data protection.

Optimising infrastructure to enable staff to work remotely

At the start of the pandemic, many organisations were not sufficiently prepared with the right digital infrastructure. Many had to undergo legacy IT migrations, which was a crucial turning point in helping organisations meet customer and employee needs. We saw companies quickly transform to enable their staff to work from home so that business could continue. Optimising their infrastructure with reliable and secure access to applications and data – whether running on-premises, in the cloud or both – is necessary to support users who are working and learning remotely.

The demand for cloud also grew in the wake of the pandemic, and today we see a lasting impact on how organisations view cloud and the way it is deployed. With the increased adoption of cloud, organisations also had to make sure they were wary of misconfiguration, unauthorised access and migration issues by having set cloud security strategies in place. In addition, fighting off large scale data breaches proved critical and organisations looked for cyber resilience capabilities to protect their data.

Dell Technologies’ broad portfolio of end-to-end business solutions enabled us to support our customers through the pandemic and deliver differentiated results. We are currently working with several organisations across multiple sectors to move them from their legacy infrastructure to a digital infrastructure that deploys and supports emerging technologies. These investments are being made for the long run as organisations are seeing the value emerging technology provides to streamline their operations and enable innovation for their go-to-market strategies.

A world-class channel partner experience

During this time, we also designed a new channel partner programme in line with our purpose of creating technology that drives human progress. Our focus was to accelerate innovation, leverage our corporate culture and strength, and provide a world-class experience so our partners can drive even more impact for customers and communities in a highly competitive market. This vision is reflected in our new Partner Promise: Together, we stop at nothing.

We are staying the course to support partners as we always have while investing in key focus areas to drive our joint success. We achieve this by understanding the ‘ins and outs’ of channel partners’ and customers’ businesses, by improving programmes based on their feedback, by investing in the technology solutions of the future and by enabling channel partners to be qualified and prepared for the future.

This year, we focused on three key areas based on partner feedback: an increased opportunity for new customer and line of business acquisition; accelerated growth and profit potential with access to our holistic portfolio, including VMware; and lastly a more streamlined end-to-end experience. As part of our efforts to strengthen our channel network, channel partners are encouraged to review the appropriate Partner Programme Guide based on their business needs and capabilities.

Together with our partners, we’re empowering our customers to meet the fast pace of change from the edge to the data centre through distributed work and modern consumption, with cybersecurity, 5G infrastructure, digital experiences and data management. We will also continue to equip our channel ecosystem to enhance their skills sets and drive simplification of our portfolio where appropriate with a commitment to bringing the next generation of technologies to market.

The future is smart … and digital

Looking ahead, we see South African organisations upgrading to smart and digital infrastructures, and expect this to prompt new models of business and services while also acting as a driver of economic momentum. This digital evolution will open broad spaces for new services as well as consumption in a variety of industries, elevating organisations and helping them become more resilient in the face of transformation.

Dell Technologies provides comprehensive hardware and software solutions, including platforms that are ready for the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). From Dell Precision workstations to Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers, Dell EMC PowerScale Storage and more, our state-of-the-art technologies enable every organisation to have access to the transformative power of AI, ML, Deep Learning (DL) and more.

Supporting our customers with the right technology to achieve business recovery and continuity has always been our key priority. Businesses are now looking to reinforce resilience after a year in which the hybrid cloud has asserted itself as an absolute necessity. Taking stock of cloud management efficiencies will form a vital next step. Businesses will also need to harness technologies such as 5G, AI/ML, Edge and IoT, data analytics, security and workforce transformation solutions to drive success.

There is no doubt that digital businesses have the agility and flexibility to pivot, come what may. But the truth is we are only at the dawn of the digital era. We are setting the foundations for a faster, more complex and distributed data environment. Looking ahead, Dell Technologies, together with our channel partners, has a key role to help businesses understand the benefits of these solutions, based on a deep understanding of their business needs.

Shifting demands as technology continues to evolve

One of the big shifts we’re seeing is the demand for edge technologies. The pandemic’s impact on how we work and the ways in which public and private organisations have had to adapt has accelerated the need for digital transformation. The need for high performance, low latency and network connectivity has never been greater and will only increase.

By 2024, IDC estimates there will be an 800% growth in the number of applications being launched at the edge. Edge plays a key role in this digital transformation journey, providing network and technology optimisation. The full potential of 5G speeds can only be realised if network latency is reduced by processing data close to the end user. In addition, by improving the performance of applications and facilitating huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time, edge enables other next generation technologies such as IoT, AI and wearables.

Then there’s the focus on multi-cloud solutions. Investments in cloud operating models that span public, private and edge environments will continue to grow, enabling rapid scale and management of IT everywhere, with the security and visibility organisations need to keep their data protected.

Finally, as-a-Service solutions promise the ultimate simplification and agility that will set businesses up to succeed and advance their digital transformation roadmaps. Breaking down data complexities will be critical and cloud, storage and flexible IT infrastructure as-a-Service solutions will prove to be a balm for customers’ data management needs.

In this region specifically, the digital future is already here. With AI/ML, IoT and other new interfaces rapidly changing how organisations operate, it is imperative that they understand how to respond and keep pace with disruptive technologies.

Global performance and upcoming priorities

Globally, Dell Technologies had a very strong Q3 and first half of the year, driven by our ability to execute and deliver consistent performance among unprecedented demand for our solutions.

Our primary focus in the coming months is to help regional organisations accelerate digital transformation initiatives with speed and purpose as we work together to power local and national innovation agendas. Given the reach of digital technology and the change it promises, there is a need to shepherd these exciting technologies without diminishing their potential.

As one of the largest global technology providers, we also have a unique role to play in transforming the future for the better. Another key priority is our ‘Progress Made Real 2030 Social Impact Vision’, which is designed to enhance Dell Technologies’ purpose to use technology to drive human progress. The goals are centred around four focus areas: advancing sustainability; cultivating inclusion; transforming lives; and upholding ethics and data privacy. For each pillar, there is a moonshot goal that is aspirational and we have various programmes in place across MERAT – from providing tech access to underserved communities to youth skills training and sustainability initiatives.

So, I’m optimistic and excited about what the future holds, especially as we see technology play a fundamental role in strengthening the regional economy. Digitisation will accelerate the transformation of key sectors and help boost recovery, as well as allow for innovation to once again be central to the regional growth agenda. In short, this is a time when we will see technology have a stronger impact on the world with the changes driven by a stronger sense of purpose, to enable wider socio-economic growth.

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