Dell EMC’s OEM Solutions: New Leadership + Evolving Strategy = Continuing Success

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.  December 3, 2018

Leadership changes can be challenging for business organizations, particularly when the executives being replaced have enjoyed notable success. Those can be tough acts to follow, but by choosing the right people and implementing the right processes, the affected organizations and its people can continue their upward trajectory. The Dell Technologies Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) and Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions group is a great example of how this dynamic can work well.

After Joyce Mullen became the organization’s VP and GM early in 2012, Dell’s OEM business expanded at a remarkable rate, driving well over $1B in annual sales and engaging thousands of customers worldwide. When Mullen was promoted a year ago to be President of Dell EMC’s Global Channel, OEM and IoT Solutions organizations, she picked Bryan Jones, an SVP in Dell EMC’s marketing organization to lead the OEM & IoT group.

Jones was an interesting choice for the job. He first joined Dell in 1998, then moved steadily upward through several customer-facing sales and marketing positions. In 2016, Jones was named SVP overseeing the combined marketing of the Dell and EMC portfolio for medium business through Fortune 50 accounts in North America and fulfilled that role until he joined OEM.

The evolution of Dell EMC OEM & IoT

At first glance, it may be difficult to see why an executive with deep experience and expertise in promoting data center solutions to enterprises, including some of Dell EMC’s largest and most important customers, would be the preferred choice to run an OEM business. After all, don’t OEM solutions largely consist of the technological “brains” that partners incorporate into their own branded products?

Yes and no. That’s certainly what Dell EMC’s and other vendors’ OEM businesses largely focused on a few years ago. But under Mullen’s leadership, OEM successfully expanded its efforts to include more computationally intensive product categories, including custom designed servers and systems for telcos and financial organizations, and appliances for supporting specific business processes and use cases.

In 2014, Mullen took on oversight of Dell’s new IoT effort and began leveraging the company’s evolving portfolio of ruggedized system technologies, including its Edge Gateway solutions and embedded servers and PCs. In a conversation I had with Mullen last year, she emphasized how Dell’s acquisition of EMC and its portfolio of storage and hyperconverged solutions would complement Dell’s OEM and IoT solutions. The company’s growing efforts in areas like video surveillance, oil and gas exploration and military and defense support her viewpoint.

The compute continuum

In a recent discussion I had with Jones, he also underscored those trends, as well as a strategic initiative that he calls the compute continuum – which emphasizes effective OEM solutions that can be deployed, managed and supported from the edge of the network to on premises data centers to the cloud, regardless of complexity, environment or scale challenges.

To date, Dell EMC OEM offers 40+ purpose-built industry solutions (based on Tier-one infrastructure) that are available in more than 90 countries. Many can be built in-region to shorten time-to-market and improve manufacturing oversight. Dell Technologies’ 60+ global support centers and 7+ global Command Centers add to the value customers can expect and also complement their OEM organization’s more than 850 members worldwide, including dedicated engineers, designers and project managers.

Jones highlighted the existing synergies between OEM and IoT, including the positive overlap between individual products and components. He also said that many of the company’s longstanding OEM customers “have been doing IoT since before it was called IoT.” Factory floor solutions are a good example since the embedded Dell servers and Edge Gateways used to enhance specific machine processes can also be used to collect, parse and transmit data for further, more sophisticated analysis and problem solving.

Jones also pointed out that industrial use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) and related machine learning (ML) are “storage-driven” processes that can be deeply complemented and enhanced by Dell EMC’s storage and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. He also said that the company’s “larger, well established OEM customers understand those points and are looking for ways to engage their own clients on these topics.”

Supporting customers’ unique journeys

Dell EMC OEM has scores of customer success stories to share. Below is one I find particularly interesting and compelling:

Beijing Physicare Science and Technology – Founded in 2004, the company specializes in developing and producing appliances that can be used in traditional Chinese medicine. Through its work with Dell EMC OEM, the company recently introduced its new Palm-Shaped Meridian Detector which tests and analyzes the 24 meridian energy flows present on human hands to identify the patient’s constitution type, report on organ function and recommend healthcare advice.

The Detector imports the collected data into a Dell Embedded Box PC 5000 which includes an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory and a 128GB SSD for storage. According to Beijing Physicare, the device delivers results in about 80 seconds and boasts a diagnosis accuracy rate of 97.8%. Plus, since the Dell Embedded Box PC 5000 is fanless, the solution is ideal for office use and noise-sensitive patients.

The Palm Shaped Meridian Detector may stretch some peoples’ notions of OEM IT solutions, but it underscores something Bryan mentioned during our conversation: “Every customer is on a unique path to the future. Building solutions, services, engineering support and other offerings capable of supporting those unique journeys is a central goal for Dell EMC OEM & IoT.”

Final analysis

I’ve closely followed Dell EMC OEM and its remarkable success for well over a decade. In fact, it was recently recognized as the market’s #1 worldwide OEM provider by IDC. This honor highlights the fact that the group is on a unique journey of its own. While its business model was initially similar to other vendors’ OEM efforts, Joyce Mullen led her organization in new directions, stretching boundaries with unique Dell technologies and proactively finding pathways to emerging new complementary markets, such as IoT.

I expect Dell EMC OEM & IoT to pursue similar, unique approaches under Bryan Jones who clearly understands synergies between the company’s remarkably broad and deep solution portfolio and the aspirations of its OEM and IoT customers. As OEM and IoT technologies and use cases continue to evolve to incorporate new AI, machine learning, hyperconverged, cloud and other features and functions, Dell should be optimally positioned to provide the guidance and assistance OEM customers require.

Customers may all be on unique paths to the future, but as Dell OEM has proven time and again, they don’t have to travel alone.

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