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Why Dell India R&D center questions the status quo?

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Dell’s commitment to the innovation and R&D is 4.5 billion annually. This along with right culture and nurturing ideas, churns out brilliance from the incubation. The India R&D facility is global level both in terms of magnitude and the potential of spinning out innovations.

For Dell Technologies, “The conversation inside the organization is, do we have the culture of questioning the status quo?” said Rudramuni B, Vice President & India R&D Head, Dell Technologies. “By doing this we encourage team members to question why are we doing a particular thing in a certain way? Or can it be done better? And are there other options which can be explored? These options are nothing but ideas. Each one of them can result in something very, very large and can bring a change to the entire ecosystem. Dell’s R&D unit has been here for 18 years now and thus the culture of innovation has been very well established” he added.

The clear cut idea to stand out:

Dell is faced with competition at most of the products they offer, “For every product and solution – for instance switches or servers-there is competition. Now the catch is products of several other companies can do one task at a time; where we stand out is that we table all of them under one umbrella- starting from an end user machine, which is the client machine desktop laptops and that’s outside of the data center. Inside the data center all the three major components – servers, storage and switches, we are putting them together knowing that convergence is the trend, or may be convergence of the hyper-convergence, right?” he quipped.

“And that is at the infrastructure level. Now, at the same time, the usage or the so-called use cases are of different type compared to how it used to be a couple of years back. The decision makers who builds IT infrastructure are also changing. Earlier we used to get involved with CIOs to buy server, storage or networking solutions. But now there are service providers to whom the CIOs go and buy the compute needs or storage needs. So there is one hop in between. This means the set of service providers would offer the infrastructure as a service or software as a service. This way the service providers are becoming the decision makers and they are who we would go and work with. So, it is changing in that direction,” he added.

Dell is in tune with the modern day technology demands and shaping products and solutions accordingly.

Mastering the Motivation:

In India, it is not about the R&D alone when Dell spells innovation. “We have a huge footprint of a variety of business units across cities and centers in India. The members of each center has been trained and motivated. Ofcourse the result coming from every one of them may not give rise to a product feature because all of them are not directly contributing to the product. Some of them are purely for internal applications or how do we deal with the or supply chain or other areas. So, the culture of innovation has gone way beyond the R&D. So that has been very well established. Now, obviously, several more things have to be done to make sure that there is constant encouragement,” he said.

“When the idea owners actually see the success of implementing their idea, it’s a time to celebrate, award and reward,” he informed.

Trend Trotting:

Today the so-called immersive and collaborative technology along with the set of processes that organizations are always using along with the resources that they have, is changing the way new technologies like AR or VR or IoT or AI are being deployed. This also influences how they will function at a task level.

“What all can be automated versus how much more efficiently can it be done is the question. Also, to what extent can they be done remotely? As per the trend a variety of such such possibilities are emerging in AR and VR domain. It completely depends on whether industry one is trying to use it; or what is the size of the workforce. So, all of these are actually making a difference in how the businesses would transform themselves.” he said.

Rudramuni informed that the back end of it, obviously is a IT infrastructure, which is running AR, VR type of applications and in a way that can be highly reliable, and it meets certain expectations of the performance. So that’s where it touches the infrastructure part. Another trend again is more to do with the IoT which is extremely data-oriented. We keep on hearing that data is the fuel. So if data is the fuel, computation becomes the engine now, and if that fuel is becoming larger, as huge amount of data is getting generated, we need to ensure that the engine is also getting ready to either store the data or scrub the data or manage the data or analyze the data. And all of that happens finally in the computation.

“So we ensure that our servers are getting ready for it,” he pointed. “That’s where it touches the infrastructure again. Considering cloud and its elastic nature, the multi-cloud environment kicks in and it is very practical from an end user perspective. To depend on multi-cloud for businesses is very useful as they do not have to depend on one type of a cloud because a good number of times, it may not meet all of their variety of requirements.”

Talking on the AI trends, Rudramuni explained, “ AI which is obviously more to do with whether it is a compute intensive or IO intensive or memory intensive. All that depends on what kind of AI algorithms will run on it. Thus, these are the emerging workloads, or the middle wares, which run TensorFlow is some of them. Now, it has to be compute intensive to run such a highly mathematic- oriented algorithm. If the regular CPU is going to be used for that purpose for large data models or data sets, it may not be sufficient. And this is where we go and study a lot more in depth and work on designing our servers considering how the memory subsystem, compute subsystem or the IO subsystem has to be changed.”

India Index:

According to Rudramuni, in India there exist a need to assist the small to medium enterprises. There are several thousands of them in the country now who may benefit from digital transformation.

“Now, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Dell along with a couple of more partners have launched a Center for Digital Transformation. The Center for Digital Transformation is a nonprofit initiative under the umbrella of CII. The intention is to bring together the so-called technology seekers, technology users, technology provider,” he mentioned. “Together we are trying to ensure a knowledge transfer, because the small to medium organizations need to be educated on what is the meaning of a digital transformation. But it has to be a multiyear journey since cash flow is always a huge constraint. There is a need to practice phased investment method which will reflect well for their return on investment.”

The center is also trying to scale across the nation so that digital knowledge is peculated at all levels.

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