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Prepare For A Wild Ride, Says VMware’s CEO


October 3, 2016  


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By Paul Barker

There is a tectonic shift in the ICT industry currently underway that shows no sign of slowing down, says Pat Gelsinger, the president and CEO of VMware.

Gelsinger said during a recent press briefing in Toronto that every customer conversation he has covers one “of three topics and usually all three – security, cloud and mobility. And that, he added, is putting additional pressure on the entire IT department.

He was in Canada for a business forum with 40 IT leaders to discuss the digital transformation movement and the key technology issues they are facing.

For any IT executive, Gelsinger likened it to being the best of times and the worst of times.

“You have a lot of the harsh business realities of the CEO calls, which is not good news and at the same time it is the best of times for IT for they are the most competent technology folks who can actually determine how to navigate this digital business future’’ he said.

That future will be widely different than what currently exists today.

“In terms of the IT industry, none is as significant as the period that we are in right now: Consumer-driven technologies, the shift from on premise to off premise, the disruptive effects of mobile and mobile cloud. All of these are coming together. Business models changing from perpetual and capitalized to subscription, are creating such violent shifts that everybody including us needs to navigate to the other side of that.”

Every traditional IT vendor who has been in this business for more than four or five years and wasn’t born in the mobile cloud era needs to navigate to the other side and deliver value to their customers, Gelsinger added.

“This whole space of enabling the secure mobile environment is absolutely huge. There are probably 100 million devices that have a secure managed environment on them and 2.5 billion devices that are unprotected.

“What it will enable companies to do over the next decade will blow you away compared to what we have done over the last decade or two. It’s just going to pick up. Imagine if you were the guy writing the business plan for What’s App. I am going to deliver communication to essentially half the population of the planet in two years. Imagine if you had written that business plan 20 years earlier. It would likely cost half a trillion dollars because you would have to build the network, build the data centres and populate all the devices.

“Now, it took 50 people less than two years. That is the kind of enormous scale and reach that we are going to enable.”

Gelsinger, said the proposed Dell-EMC merger of which VMware is a part of, creates one of the three mega IT infrastructure companies on the planet with the other being HPE and Cisco.

“There will be continued industry consolidation,” he predicted. “There are too many storage companies, too many switch companies, too many PC companies, too many server companies.”

Such consolidation, said Gelsinger, will come about at the same time a myriad of technological advances will revolutionize how people work and live.

‘Let’s pretend this scenario: Tomorrow morning your phone goes off at 5:30. It says, ‘I have scheduled you an appointment because last night you had a heart abnormality. I am getting you up early today. I have uploaded all of your biometrics, DNA etc. We’ve run the database against all relevant DNA on the planet, you have an appointment with your doctor at 8 a.m. and your self-driving car is picking you up, I have pre-ordered Starbucks and because there is traffic I had to get you up early as well

“Everything that I have just said will be realized within the next decade. Everything is being tied together – machine learning, business intelligence, analytics, connected devices, the ability to have an infrastructure that is literally infinitely scalable. This is changing the lives of the planet.”

Meanwhile at VMworld 2016 held in late August, Gelsinger highlighted the massive adoption of cloud, but also pointed out there is a minimal connection across these clouds and businesses are grappling with this constraint. He also cited an August 2016 Economist Intelligence Unit global survey, commissioned by VMware, which found that the majority of its 600 respondents noted IT complexity is harming the operations of the enterprise.

It also found that 36% of senior IT executives said that IT could not move fast enough to support business users. Cloud is contributing to this complexity and if not done right, can contribute to the inefficiencies as well, the report said. C+