eWEEKChat Oct. 14: Can They Pivot? Huge Challenges Facing Legacy IT Companies

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its monthly #eWEEKChat. Join us if you can.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be "Can They Pivot? Huge Challenges Facing Legacy IT Companies." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, who serves as eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: Can They Pivot? Huge Challenges Facing Legacy IT Companies

Date/time: Oct. 14, 2015 @11a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, click here to add to Outlook Calendar

Moderator: Chris Preimesberger: @editingwhiz

Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate or use the widget below.

Chatroom real-time links: We have two: http://tweetchat.com/room/eweekchat or http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat. Both work very well. These are the best way to follow the commentary.

Can They Pivot? Huge Challenges Facing Legacy IT Companies

We see legacy tech companies come under fire virtually every day. Recently, Hewlett-Packard, one of the oldest and most respected IT companies in the world, has split into two entities and announced more layoffs. IBM has been shrinking for several years. Oracle's profitability is slowing down. Cisco Systems is looking for new business markets. Microsoft has had to transform itself into a new-look company. We could go on.

This week, Dell bought EMC for $67 billion, a case of two old-line companies banding together to: a) create the world's largest IT company; and b) protect themselves from the current and future onslaught of more agile, new-gen companies with lots of brains, capital and chutzpah. And not necessarily in that order.

Both companies need help right now against an onslaught of younger, imaginative, fast-moving newcomers in cloud storage, cloud computing, security and a number of other sectors. When lots of piranhas are constantly biting at a bigger but slower target, eventually they will consume it. EMC and Dell joining forces at this time would fortify themselves for a longer period against these adversaries.

In the past, we've seen Microsoft acquire Nokia, Oracle buy Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard swallow Compaq and Symantec eat Veritas; the list goes on and on. Not all of these transactions work, by the way.

The irony is this: Companies want to get big fast, so they can make lots of money, pay their investors and hire more people. Fine. But the more successful a company becomes, the larger it gets; the larger it gets, the slower it is to act and react; the slower it acts, the more susceptible it becomes to smaller competitors. And so the cycle continues. Everybody knows this, yet companies keep devouring each other anyway.

Perhaps companies should purposely stay small and focused. Of course, that plays against investors' interests. But if they stay manageable, they can pivot to new tech trends much faster, thus staying relevant for a longer period of time.

Companies like IBM and HP are so big, and have so many layers of management, that approvals for new ideas take far too long. By the time the company is ready to go to market, some new startup is already on the market with it.

Facebook and Google, two new-gen companies, aren't like old-school companies. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example, doesn't have his own private office; he sits out on the main floor with all the other employees, so he's approachable by anyone. If he needs a private meeting, he uses one of the company's standard meeting rooms, just like everybody else. Thus, the layers of management evaporate, and Facebook is able to continue to move with agility as a company.

In any case, we'll be posing questions such as these:

--What is your take on Dell buying EMC? Smart, not so smart, or no big deal?

--How might this merger impact the overall IT industry? Will it affect you, personally?

--How important to you is doing business with a large, established company as opposed to a newer, not-as-well-known company?

--Should growing companies set more modest, more realistic growth goals?

Join us Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. PDT and 2 p.m. EDT.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...