How Dell’s OEM Group Is Connecting the Edge, Data Center, Cloud

IT BUSINESS ANALYSIS: A strategic initiative that Dell calls the “compute continuum” emphasizes OEM solutions that can be effectively deployed, managed and supported from the edge of the network to on-premises data centers to the cloud, regardless of complexity, environmental or scale challenges.


Successful executives can be tough acts to follow, but by choosing the right people and implementing the right processes, the affected organizations and their people can continue their trajectory. Dell Technologies’ Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) and Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions group offers a great example of how this works.

Following Joyce Mullen becoming the group’s vice president and general manager early in 2012, Dell’s OEM business expanded remarkably to drive well more than $1 billion in annual sales and engage thousands of global customers. 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, a senior vice president in Dell EMC’s marketing organization, to lead the OEM and IoT group.

Jones was an intriguing choice. 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 the OEM organization.

Dell EMC OEM & IoT: Continuous Evolution

It may be difficult to see why an executive with expertise in data center solutions for enterprises, including some of Dell EMC’s largest and most important customers, would be the best choice to run an OEM business. After all, OEM solutions largely consist of the technological “brains” that partners incorporate into their own branded products. Right?

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, Dell OEM successfully expanded its efforts to incorporate the company’s computationally intensive products. Those include custom-designed servers and systems for telcos and financial organizations and appliances for specific business processes and use cases. These are solutions that Jones deeply understands.

Additionally, in 2014, Mullen took on oversight of Dell’s budding IoT effort and began using 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 EMC’s OEM and IoT solutions. The company’s growing efforts in areas such as video surveillance, oil and gas exploration, and military and defense support her viewpoint. Again, this aligns well with Jones’ past experience.

The Compute Continuum

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

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Dell EMC OEM currently offers 40+ purpose-built industry solutions (based on tier-one infrastructure technologies) that are available in more than 90 countries. Many can be built in-region, shortening time-to-market and improving manufacturing oversight. Dell Technologies’ 60+ global support centers and 7+ global Command Centers add to the value customers can expect, and complement the OEM organization’s 850+ global workforce, 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 more sophisticated analysis and problem solving.

Jones 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.”

Beijing Physicare Science and Technology

Dell EMC OEM has scores of customer success stories to share, including Beijing Physicare Science and Technology. Founded in 2004, the company specializes in developing and producing computing appliances that can be used in traditional Chinese medicine. Through its work with Dell EMC OEM, the company recently introduced a new Palm-Shaped Meridian Detector that 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 health care 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 solid-state drive for storage. According to Beijing Physicare, the device delivers results in about 80 seconds and boasts a diagnosis accuracy rate of 97.8 percent. 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 Jones 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

Dell EMC’s OEM group was recently recognized as the market’s No. 1 worldwide OEM provider by IDC, which highlighted 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, Mullen led the organization in new directions, stretching boundaries with unique Dell technologies and proactively exploring pathways to and connections with complementary new markets, such as IoT.

Dell EMC OEM & IoT is likely to pursue similar, unique approaches under Jones, who clearly understands synergies between the company’s enterprise solution portfolio and the aspirations of its OEM and IoT customers. As OEM and IoT continue to evolve, incorporating emerging AI, machine learning, hyperconverged, cloud and other features and functions, Dell EMC appears well-positioned to provide the guidance and assistance OEM customers require.

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

Charles King is a principal analyst at PUND-IT.  © 2018 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.