Dell, Bloomberg Discuss a Changing Business World
Both business leaders warn that companies must be able to adapt to rapidly evolving demands and challenges if they want to survive.NEW YORK CITY—Michael Dell and Michael Bloomberg both launched companies in the 1980s that grew to be powerhouses in their respective industries. Both also left their eponymous companies for a while—Dell for three years and Bloomberg for 12, after serving three terms as the city's mayor—only to return to retake the helms. On Jan. 27, both sat on a stage at Bloomberg headquarters here to talk about what they found when they returned and the challenges both companies face in a rapidly changing business world. The message from both Dell and Bloomberg was essentially the same: businesses that don't evolve and don't adapt to changing demands from customers won't be around very long. For Michael Dell, that meant reassessing his company and where the market was heading when he returned as CEO in 2007 after stepping down three years earlier. He decided that Dell had to grow beyond its roots as a PC box maker and evolve into an enterprise IT solutions and services provider, an effort that is ongoing today, most notably in the company's $67 billion bid to buy data storage giant EMC. "We saw an emerging cyber-security challenge," Michael Dell said, speaking to a packed room of IT professionals, journalists and Bloomberg and Dell employees. "We saw changes in IT that were going to transform the industry, and that are accelerating today. … We saw that products alone were insufficient. ... We needed to some new things and had to set off on a new course."
The appearance by Michael Dell and Michael Bloomberg came at the end of an afternoon-long series of keynotes and panel discussions by executives with both companies as well as by industry analysts and IT professionals from a range of other businesses who talked about the increasing demands being put on IT organizations by such trends as big data, analytics, mobility, hyper-connectivity, cloud computing and the massive amounts of data being generated by the growing numbers of connected devices in the world.