Dell, HPE CEOs Debate the Merits of Their Strategies
Michael Dell says scale is necessary in a fast-changing IT world, while Meg Whitman says being smaller and more nimble will win out.The diametrically opposed strategies that Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are taking to navigate their way through a rapidly changing tech industry were on full display the same day last week, giving executives for both the chance to make their cases. And make their cases they did, with both Dell CEO Michael Dell and his HPE counterpart, Meg Whitman, not only arguing why they made the moves they did, but also why their strategy put their company in a better position to manage the industry's shift to the cloud and the broad range of emerging technologies, including the fast-growing internet of things (IoT), the proliferation of mobile devices, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and software-defined everything. Michael Dell is betting more than $60 billion that bigger is better. The acquisition of EMC, 11 months in the making, creates a huge $74 billion tech vendor that has reach into every part of the enterprise IT segment, from the PC to the data center and into the cloud. It has multiple companies—including VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks, RSA and Virtustream—140,000 employees (though job cuts are coming) in 180 countries. During a conference call last week with journalists and analysts, the CEO reiterated his belief that when talking about being the top supplier of enterprise IT solutions, scale matters. With Dell, customers get a one-stop shopping site for all their technology needs, from PCs and servers to storage devices, networking, virtualization, cloud offerings and enterprise software. The company offers converged, hyperconverged and software-defined infrastructure, hybrid cloud technologies and services.
He also noted that a key advantage for Dell is that it is a private company—though VMware and SecureWorks are public—and that enables it to think differently about the future than a public company like HPE. Public companies are under constant scrutiny by financial analysts and shareholders, and that forces them to think more short term. They have to report their earnings every three months, and must be much more worried about revenue and profits.