Now that’s a pretty bold statement from a company that’s mainly known for its excellent products, isn’t it? EMC will always be a technology company, but we are definitely seeing a shift in the buying patterns of our customers. The challenges that companies face today are so daunting that a standalone product can never solve all of the issues. Products and related services need to be glued together in total solutions that fit in – and actually enable – a broad IT strategy.
What I found out when talking to customers since joining EMC last spring is that not one company or industry can escape the changes that are affecting our entire society. Even the most traditional and conservative industries have to take into account that the new expectations of their clients are high. Very high. Whether you are in banking, insurance, manufacturing or running a city or government, regardless of whether you serve consumers or other businesses, the people using your products or services expect you to be always online. They want to be able to consult their investment portfolio, place and track their orders at the tip of their fingers, adapt their subscriptions to fit their exact needs. And they demand the possibility of doing that wherever they are and from whatever device they have at hand at that moment. Platform- and location independent instant gratification, that is what makes your – and our – customers happy.
Of course we are all convinced that information technology allows us to fulfill the challenging demands of our clients. And rightly so. But many executives find that the current status of their IT infrastructure is not helping them, — and in many cases, on the contrary,stopping them — from catering to the needs of internal and external customers. Companies find themselves in what IDC dubbed ‘the second platform’, while technical evolutions like cloud, big data and social media require them to move to the third platform. New types of applications, born in the cloud, assure enterprises of the flexibility they need in our fast-changing world. That’s what the third platform is all about.
It is clear that point-solutions or standalone products play a lesser role in a company’s strategy than previously. What organizations are looking for these days are total solutions that address the challenge of safeguarding invested capital while also allowing new innovative developments. They are looking for technology partners who truly understand their business needs, their constraints, their stakes and help them draw an IT transformation roadmap that enables a true, top-line driven business transformation. Rest assured, products still play a key role in building that bigger set of solutions and EMC will continue to offer best-of-breed technology. However, we should never lose sight of the bigger picture and EMC people, at all levels and from all functions, are more committed than ever to accompany our customers along this exciting journey.
I feel strengthened in this vision by reading the ‘Global Data Protection Index’ survey compiled by Vanson Bourne. One of the conclusions in the report states that companies that use three or more vendors to build their data protection strategy not only pay a lot more than companies that stick with one vendor, but are actually also more vulnerable to data loss and downtime. This seems a paradox, but is easily explained: using multiple product sets from different vendors is making management of these point solutions more difficult, and it also becomes confusing to fully understand where each solutions starts and ends.
So are products dead? Of course they are not, and great products remain a crucial building block in our customers’ strategy. But they play a lesser role in our conversations with executives. And frankly, I also find it way more inspiring to discuss challenges and strategies than features and benefits of products.