UPDATED 13:40 EST / OCTOBER 21 2020

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Accelerating digital transformation during and after COVID: 6 key technology pillars

While many organizations were embarking on the digital transformation journey at one stage or another prior to COVID-19, the pandemic has caused such disruption in the workplace that they now find themselves having to accelerate that journey amidst a suddenly fragile physical world.

Priorities are changing, and companies are reexamining emerging technologies with a higher focus on digital initiatives as they develop new growth strategies.

“We knew the technology revolution was occurring [pre-COVID], we knew the multicloud world was real, we knew that machine intelligence was real,” said John Roese (pictured), global chief technology officer of products and operations at Dell Technologies. “But prior to COVID, many of these areas were still considered risky or speculative. COVID has been an interesting catalyst to get people to really think practically about the newer technologies available and how they might be able to take advantage of them quicker.”

Roese spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the Dell Technologies World Digital Experience event. They discussed the key transformational technology pillars that organizations should consider as they develop a path for driving innovation during and after COVID. (* Disclosure below.)

Dell’s strategic vision focuses on six key technology pillars

Digital transformation acceleration is “not one problem; it’s many problems all working together,” according to Roese explained.

“You discover that some of these can be solved with cloud one, and some can be solved with cloud two, and some of them you want to have in your own infrastructure, in a private cloud, and some might belong at the edge,” he said.

Ultimately, companies must realize that their long-term digital transformation strategy must have a systematic approach. And after looking at thousands of technologies over the last few years, Dell has identified six expanding areas that are likely to be required for any successful digital transformation. The first is to develop and deliver a multicloud. The cloud journey is by no means done, and the enterprise is in the second inning (or earlier) of a nine-inning baseball game, according to Roese. There is much work to be done to create and fully exploit the possibilities of a truly multicloud world. 

The second pillar, in parallel with the first, is that the multicloud is no longer present only in data centers and public clouds — it actually exists in the real world. This is the idea of the edge and reconstituting IT in the real world to deliver the real-time behavior necessary to serve what Dell predicts will be about 70% of the world’s data, outside of the world’s data centers.

5G is a third pillar. “5G is not another G; it isn’t just a faster 4G,” Roese explained. “It does that, but with massive machine type communication, a million sensorized devices in a kilometer, ultra reliable and low latency communication, the ability to get preferential services to critical streams of data across the infrastructure, mobile edge compute and putting edge IT out into the cellular environment.”

Given that 5G is built in the cloud and in the IT era makes it programmable and software defined. As a result, 5G will go from being outside of the IT discussion to being the fabric inside the IT discussion.

Dell’s fourth key pillar for driving digital transformation involves data in motion. Traditionally, data is at rest, existing in databases, data lakes, and traditional applications. While this still matters, the enterprise is moving into a new world of data in motion, meaning that data is now moving into pipelines. It’s not being moved somewhere and then “figured out,” but rather the enterprise is figuring out the data as it flows across a new multicloud environment that requires an entirely different architecture and infrastructure, Roese explained. 

Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence and machine learning are another pillar.

“We don’t view AI as purely a technology,” Roese said. “It clearly is a technology, but we really think customers should think about it as a new class of user, because AIs are actually some of the most aggressive producers and consumers of data and consumers of IT infrastructure.”

Dell estimates that within the next four or five years, the majority of IT capacity in an enterprise environment will be consumed at the behest of the machine learning algorithm or an AI system, rather than a traditional application or individual. And while they are massive demand drivers for the infrastructure, they have a massive return on that demand. 

The sixth pillar in Dell’s strategic vision is the area of security. Today, most enterprises operate under the assumption that the “bad guys” are already inside and the approach is to try and prevent them from doing harm. Instead, the enterprise needs to reverse this trend and return to embedding the infrastructure with intrinsic security, according to Roese. And what should really be measured is the trustworthiness of the systems worked with, not the individual components, he added.

Each one of these six individual areas, when combined, describe the foundation of a digital transformation, in Dell’s view. If executed properly, businesses are more likely to accelerate the digital transformation outcome required to drive greater innovation and success.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Dell Technologies World Digital Experience event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Dell Technologies World. Neither Dell Technologies, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE Media

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