As today’s online retail and service giants demonstrate, if you want to transform your organization to compete in the fast-moving digital economy, you need to start with an application programming interface (API) strategy.
But be prepared. Getting the technology in place to host and manage these essential building blocks for connecting people, business, and things is only part of building an API ecosystem. The real challenge is in getting your technical and business stakeholders to understand and embrace the benefits of APIs.
An API strategy success requires a collaborative effort. The business has to understand the value of APIs; and the technical people who are building APIs have to understand how they are going to help the business and determine the API hosting platform that is needed.
Tracking integrated business and service transactions across multiple IT systems is important in today’s fast-moving business climate. Being able to track them across two major IT companies (Dell and EMC) that recently merged to form Dell Technologies, one of the largest technology companies in the world, is absolutely vital.
That’s why Dell IT’s recent launch of a visualization tool that lets our business and IT teams use Dell technology to monitor transactions on a single dashboard is a critical step in the EMC/Dell integration.
It is called the Enterprise Integration and Services Business Monitoring Portal (EISBMP), a system that combines cutting-edge Dell technology solutions to bring together all integrated transaction data into a single view where business and support people can see transactions across multiple systems in a comprehensive dashboard.
Accessed via single sign on, the EISBMP has allowed us to consolidate more than 15 different tracking applications into one. It also lets us showcase our Pivotal platform and a range of other technologies across the powerful Dell portfolio that, combined with open-source apps, create this cloud native application.
Last September, the newly expanded Dell IT team helped to deliver the largest tech merger in history and began integrating and enhancing the performance of its systems and applications across the two industry heavyweights. Sure, there were hurdles and headaches along the way, but this was the best and fastest integration I’ve seen in my career, with minimal disruption to our customers and team members.
An integration of this magnitude is never easy. I’ve lived through a few of these over the years, and having learned a thing or two, I’d like to share a few reasons for our success.
First, we pragmatically prioritized our activities. Like all IT organizations, we needed to run the business while merging the teams and integrating the systems and applications. We neither had the time, nor the budget, to do everything on our list, so we initially focused on the most critical (and numerous and complex) integration activities:
Merging our web platforms for a unified, Dell-branded experience
Enabling thousands of our sales folks to easily locate, contact and collaborate on deals with each other while providing customers with a smooth, unified sales experience
Consolidating our partner portals
Automating revenue cycle processes for VxRail, Dell EMC’s first joint product
Integrating two legacy networks to provide initial collaboration and productivity
There’s more than one way to transform your organization’s legacy applications to achieve the agility, speed and customer service level that today’s IT operations require. In fact, Dell IT has unveiled a range of options to begin moving our legacy applications to the cloud.
We have created three IT services to give our business developers a choice of how much or how little they want to upgrade their apps to add cloud capabilities via Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and VM-as-a-Service.
Before I describe the features of our new service offerings, let me provide some background on how we came up with our strategy.
Corey is a hyper-mobile, customer-facing sales representative who is not technically inclined. Sean is an office-based, highly technical engineer. And Jessica is a collaborative and non-technical business professional with a flexible workstyle, working in the office, at home or on the road when it makes sense.
They are just some of the different people with different workstyles that today’s IT organizations need to accommodate as they strive to address a huge shift in what users want for tools and services to be productive both in and out of the office in today’s workplace.
After conducting more than two years of persona and workstyle research, Dell IT recently took a groundbreaking first step in tailoring our tools and services to match our distinctive user groups. We unveiled the Sales Jetpack—a combination of devices, tools, services and education resources specifically focused on our customer-facing, mobile sales staff around the globe.
Agriculture has come a long way from ancient times through the industrial revolution to the current digital era. In 2017, modern agricultural organizations have access to increasingly large amounts of data collected by sensors from soil quality measurements, weather sensors, GPS guided machinery, and more. According to a USDA’s recent survey, more than 60 percent of corn and soybean crops are monitored by data collection devices (source). However, there is still a substantial gap between the potential of utilizing this data and what happens in reality. Despite having the data, many companies lack the capability to effectively process, analyze, and efficiently build informative models in order to make data-driven decisions.
That’s where guidance from data service providers, such as Virtustream, can help. Virtustream provides data management expertise, tools and data science consulting to enable customers across different industries to get value from their data resources.
Our data science team in Dell IT recently initiated a Data-Science-as-a-Service Proof of Concept (PoC) as part of a Virtustream service engagement with a large company that plants thousands of farms across USA. Virtustream had enabled the company to become more data-driven by harnessing its large amounts of data, as well as developing and implementing different applications that enable scalable, faster, and more accurate operations – operations that couldn’t be executed with existing tools. Our PoC sought to demonstrate the speed and efficiency of those analytics applications.
As IT continues to empower a new, digitally-transformed world, infrastructure capability isn’t the only thing that needs to become more agile and flexible. IT security must also evolve to be more adaptable, more proactive and less reactive to let today’s workforce embrace the cloud.
After all, it doesn’t make sense to unleash new, agile IT applications only to weigh them down with traditional security strategies that create delays, restrictions and outright denials.
For example, in some cases with IT as a Service, a user can provision a virtual machine (VM) in five minutes but then must wait three to five days before security allows access to the data he or she wants to work with.
The question is, how is IT security going to change in this new digitally transformed world so that we can fully take advantage of the agility and simplification of cloud-enabled infrastructure.
A key part of the answer lies in a new approach to trust and risk assessment.
Do any of you remember when self-service was reserved for all-you-can-eat buffets? Some of you aren’t old enough to remember when there was no such thing as a self-service gas station. Every gas station used to be entirely full-service, which meant a nice person would come to your car and ask you which grade of gas you wanted and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. While the pump was going, they would clean your windows and you drove away with a full tank and truly perfect windows.
In the 1980s, self-service really took hold when people started paying for everything under the sun with credit cards and when credit card processing got so good that you could build it right into the pump it became the norm. Since then, self-service seems to be everywhere and rightly so because it allows buyers to make quick decisions at point-of-sale, and reduces time spent on menial tasks freeing up resources for more strategic efforts.
These great self-service characteristics can even be applied by IT organizations today. For example, Dell IT is now leveraging a newly-launched capability called Shared Connected Configuration to bring the efficiency of self-service to enterprise PC deployments. This new service allows Dell PC customers to connect directly to Dell factories to manage their own custom Windows image—including applications and configuration—and ultimately have their PCs shipped to end users ready for first time login.
In today’s fast-moving, software-driven technology world, even die hard techies don’t find it compelling to build their own computer systems out of their favorite components like they did a decade ago. Today, it makes more sense to buy a laptop or desktop ready-made to run the latest software without customization. The same can be said for companies pursuing the modern data center.
That’s why Dell Technologies is taking a buy-not-build approach to transitioning our data centers to the cloud as legacy Dell and EMC converge in a single modern data center effort.
Historically, both Dell and EMC have been working to virtualize and optimize their data centers, with a current combined virtualization level of about 77 percent. We are continuing those efforts with a plan of reaching 100 percent virtualization near-term. But our overall goal is to transition beyond virtualization to the cloud, where we can leverage the agility, elasticity, resiliency and dynamic characteristics of a truly modern, software-defined data center.
If you are heading into the office today, chances are you won’t stay tethered to your desk for long—if at all. Workplace settings have become more flexible and creative in today’s world, with seamless Wi-Fi access, modern meeting rooms and digital conferencing. Personal devices are pervasive. Our workplaces extend far beyond the office setting, with mobile technology letting us do our jobs on the train, at the coffee shop and from our homes.
Organizations that want to keep pace with a flexible work world and attract and keep talented employees need to create a digital workplace where team members can work seamlessly anytime, from anywhere.
We at Dell IT are kicking off a multi-year effort to do just that—to create a digital experience centered on an agile, highly mobile work culture that gives our team members the freedom to get more done from anywhere. (more…)
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