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
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Today, Bask Iyer, Dell and VMware’s CIO, was named a 2017 inductee into the CIO Hall of Fame from IDG’s CIO. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon a select group of outstanding IT executives and visionaries who have had a significant impact on the IT profession. He will officially accept his award at the CIO Hall of Fame awards ceremony in August; but I thought today’s announcement of it would be a good reason to catch up with Iyer to discuss what this means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.
Some in IT might wince when I say this, having a modern IT network isn’t about the new and the shiny. It’s about the foundational.
Before an IT organization can pursue Software Defined Networking, Converged Infrastructure (CI), Digital Transformation, Platform as a Service (PaaS), or any other emerging technology, it needs a network in which its people, technology and processes support the foundational elements of its existing technology and services.
Three and a half years ago, my Global Networking Services team at Dell took on the challenge of modernizing and transforming Dell’s networking infrastructure to improve reliability, simplify, lower costs which set the stage to adopt new IT innovations. While it was an effort that had been attempted many times before, we succeeded in delivering a more stable and flexible network that is now poised to support Digital Transformation as the company integrates Dell’s and EMC’s networks.
Some of the factors that helped us get there may surprise you.
Setting a course for integrating IT operations to bring together Dell and EMC in the largest merger in high-tech history is a bit like climbing a mountain. You need to decide where to start and map out the path you will take to get to the top.
Defining Dell IT’s (the name of the new combined organization) journey for integration was the first step as we began the process of molding both companies’ IT resources into one IT organization to serve what was becoming a 140,000-person global company. And while we still have a ways to go in our integration effort, here are some of the methods we used and lessons we learned so far that might make your IT integration journey a little less daunting.
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