I always wanted to do that – write one of those attention-grabbing headlines that have become permanent fixtures in our daily lives. The one clear thing about news (that people want to read) is that “ordinary” just doesn’t work. So often we use great words like “crisis” and “revolutionary” to describe ordinary things. The problem is, what do you call something truly revolutionary when the word is also being used to describe the next “Desperate Housewives” season?
I gave a keynote Thursday at the Silicon Valley Summit, talking about M&A, deals, and strategy. As I looked back at the deals we have done to transform the company it truly seems remarkable. We have invested almost $7B, entered new markets, bought some of the most revolutionary, and I do mean revolutionary, technology in IT, and yielded impressive business results. Customers get it and are excited. We are excited!
By far, the most frequently asked question of me is “so, what are you going to buy next?” I get it from the press, the analysts, investors, folks from EMC, friends, neighbors, and even my daughter. In business conversations, the question usually comes at the very end and is just thrown in casually (like we’ll just slip that one in).
My answer is usually a “Disney” analogy -“Do you think Disney would announce where the next DisneyWorld is going to be located before they bought the land?”
OK, you probably guessed it, I am not going to tell you what we are going to buy next (Joe and the Board breathe a big sigh of relief here), but I am going to give you a much more valuable piece of information. I am going to tell you WHY we buy companies. There are and will be exceptions but, in general:
- We buy great and disruptive technologies
- from companies with great people that share our drive and vision
- that fit with our core vision and strategy and products
- that expand our available market
- and increase our relevancy to our customers
For years folks have been talking about EMC being a “storage” company or becoming a “software” company. People are always trying to find a one word label for things. If we do anything that falls outside the current definition of “storage,” folks would say that they don’t understand our strategy “your ‘box’ is storage – you’re not coloring within the lines.”
Actually, we are coloring within the lines; you just need to know what we are drawing.
OK, if you must have one word – I would call us an “Information” company. If I am allowed 4 words – we are becoming an Information-centric IT company. Hey- the tagline still works perfectly - we are “Where Information Lives!”
In a simple frame-work, I like to explain it this way.
- What we are = “Where Information Lives”
- What we are creating = The “Information Infrastructure”
Uh oh – what happened to ILM (Information Lifecycle Management)? We spent tons on money on all of those signs – do we have to write it off? Where did it go? Fact is - It is still front and center.
- Our Customers’ Strategy = Information Lifecycle Management
Fact is - ILM is still the most important capability we can deliver to our customers!
So while I will admit that I do watch an occasional Desperate Housewives episode (OK - I have a season pass on my Tivo), I am not ready to use the “revolutionary” word there yet. I would like to think EMC, however, is building some truly revolutionary solutions for our customers’ current and next generation IT needs.
Hopefully this quick note gives you some insight into what we are all about. I mentioned previously that I would discuss my vision for IT and datacenters of the future, a concept I call “Flat IT.” I promise that I will start on that topic within a couple of weeks – Flat IT is the basis for “how” I believe IT will evolve, which is another key piece of the equation.