Is It Possible to Avoid Failure with a Customer-Centric Strategy?

first_imgAgile methods to act on customer data and translate it to meaningful actionOnce you’ve established effective connections and listening posts, you must effectively leverage the data to drive meaningful actions for customers.  In EMC’s personal Big Data journey, we uncovered two key takeaways:The need to build out a scalable platform for structured and unstructured dataThe need to shift the responsibility of the “value” of the data from “IT” to the businessDeveloping a true company-wide Big Data Lake will be the most effective tool to break down internal silos and encourage maximum customer impact throughout their end-to-end experience.This learning allows us to deliver a more personalized service experience. For example, visualization dashboards bring together a single comprehensive view of key customer data, including revenue, competitive perception, loyalty, customer service satisfaction and product quality. Having this type of insight at our fingertips means we can start conversations at a point of true value, knowing what is going on in an individual customer’s environment so we can take swift corrective action when issues arise.This agile data methodology, which relies on our corporate data lake, is a critical differentiator of our customer-centric approach and something that other companies should consider for the future.Commitment to continuous improvementHaving a culture committed to continuous improvement is paramount. While listening and data will help reveal areas that require transformation, it’s the people in your business who are willing to embrace change to improve the customer experience – essential to long-term success.Apple’s constant push to innovate in ways that excite customers without compromising its core values is why it has successfully pushed out competitors across numerous product areas—such as its recent domination of the mobile payment market, where its proprietary fingerprint technology has made the experience so easy that nearly two-thirds of all contactless payments are now made with Apple Pay.The aspiration to be better starts with whether or not your employees are committed to the same goal. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, describes their culture in Fast Company: “We’ve turned up the volume on collaboration because it’s so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world. The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services.” Additionally, he notes how the company can always do better: “We’ve made errors in the past, and we’ll never be perfect. Fortunately, we have the courage to admit it and correct it.”As a business leader, how can you apply the lessons from customer-centric companies, and those that failed to focus on the customer, to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and position yourself for long-term success?In our own personal journey, EMC has learned that it is critical to look at the total end to end customer experience, creating personal customer connections through effective listening posts, using agile methods to meaningfully act on customer data, and building a culture of continuous improvement.And today, our Federation companies bring together customers, partners and employees for a Total Customer Experience Global Celebration in honor of the industry-wide Customer Experience Day.I want to personally thank our customers for your patience and partnership. EMC plans to be around for a very long time and we know that this is possible only if we stay the course and never lose sight that the CUSTOMER ALWAYS COMES FIRST. Personalized customer connections Companies must be willing to implement new types of listening to engage with customers when and where it matters most. Phone and web surveys are important, but not enough to get real-time understanding of what’s going on with a customer and take action. In today’s digital world, companies must integrate surveys into a more holistic strategy, which includes dynamic listening platforms such as social media.JetBlue stands out for its proactive efforts to respond to customers via Twitter. I especially like the story of Ben Kepes who frequently journeys between his home in New Zealand and the US, normally through Star Alliance airlines. Yet, on his first trip with JetBlue, he decided to tweet out to the company. He notes that, “[w]ithin seconds, I had a response from the company wishing me a good journey. I responded to JetBlue’s social team…making a bit of a random comment about the fact that airlines don’t recognize, nor have any visibility, over individual passengers’ travel habits or status…so I was a little surprised to have a message from JetBlue wishing me a good flight and telling me to await a nice surprise at check-in…and was impressed to see that the JetBlue team had upgraded me to a first class seat for my short hop.” With any business, there is always risk of failure. Failure is more certain when a company does not adapt to market and customer needs – think Blockbuster Video. But what do companies that thrive, such as JetBlue and Apple, have in common that allows them to grow and separate from the competition?These successful companies all have the presence of a customer-centric strategy.A customer-centric strategy requires three fundamental elements:Personalized customer connectionsAgile methods to meaningfully act on customer dataCommitment to continuous improvementlast_img read more

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10 Tips & Tricks to Maximize the Value from your VCE Blocks and Racks – Part II

first_imgA growing number of organizations have recognized that architecting, planning, testing, verifying, deploying, and maintaining interoperability among IT infrastructure components wastes budgets and resources while not contributing desired value to your business. As a result, they have chosen to buy not build converged infrastructure.VCE makes the leading converged infrastructure solutions: Vblock® Systems, VxBlock™ Systems, and VxRack™ Systems. But once you’ve deployed your VCE systems, you may still be uncertain whether you’re truly maximizing the value of your investment.In my last post, we explored five of the 10 Tips & Tricks that will ensure you make the most of your VCE Blocks and Racks. Today, let’s look at five more steps you can take.Tip 6: Quickly Migrate WorkloadsIt might seem obvious, but in the daily realities of a data center environment, one of the biggest challenges is completing the migration process efficiently and effectively. I had one data center manager tell me, “My new Vblock System is like a big paperweight sitting in the middle of the room because I haven’t migrated my workloads yet.”VCE offers a proven methodology that will enable you to virtualize physical servers with up to 1 TB of data and easily migrate your entire data center to a virtualized environment within twelve weeks or less. Once your workloads are on your new VCE converged infrastructure, you can begin enjoying the full return you expected.Tip 7: Get High-Value SupportObtaining the right support is essential to realizing the greatest value from your VCE Systems. VCE’s incomparable support experience for customers is facilitated through two types of team members:VCE Customer Advocate—A trusted advisor who works to identify and resolve issues quicklyVirtual Platform Support Engineer or Escalation Engineer—Technical resources with the expertise to ensure your system’s optimization and reduce riskRegardless of the resources you use, our experience has been that as long as you’ve got a single VCE system in your data center, our Core support is likely to be satisfactory. But as you increase the number of VCE systems, you’ll likely prefer our more proactive options—Plus or Premier—which can dramatically decrease the frequency and severity of reactive service requests.Tip 8: Love Your RCMRecently, I had the CIO tell me, “Before I implemented my VCE systems, I had ten team members who just did testing for firmware and software upgrades.” This CIO was responsible for a large, complex IT environment and clearly couldn’t afford to have things break every time there was a new release.That all ended with his move to VCE systems. Our Release Certification Matrix (RCM) is essentially a “gold copy” configuration. VCE spends 400-500 hours testing and validating the interoperability of each infrastructure component—compute, storage, network, and virtualization—for every relevant firmware or software release by various vendors. No one else offers an RCM—and it reduces costs by 50% while minimizing the risk of downtime and enabling you to reallocate resources to value-creating activities.Tip 9: Keep Your Systems Healthy, Optimized, and SecureEvery Vblock, VxBlock, and VxRack System comes with VCE Vision™ Intelligent Operations built in. The software offers unique intelligence, automation, and visualization capabilities to help you understand and manage your infrastructure.You get a unified view of your environment to keep systems and application workloads healthy. You’re notified when you need to upgrade components with RCM-approved firmware and software to ensure your systems are stable and optimized. VCE Vision also discovers vulnerabilities and delivers software patches to keep your data center secure.Tip 10: Become a Certified Converged Infrastructure ExpertThe final tip to ensure that your VCE systems will perform up to their potential is to become a certifiedconverged infrastructure expert. VCE has a well-established certification program, and we encourage everyone to get certified based on their roles within your IT team. Credentials include Associate, Engineer, and Master Engineer.A number of our customers have created incentives for team members to get certified in converged and hyper-converged infrastructure. This has really paid dividends for these companies.So, there you have it: 10 Tips & Tricks designed to generate maximum value from your VCE converged infrastructure. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help meet your IT demands, visit our Professional Services page.last_img read more

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What Female Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

first_imgHow do we build a country of female unicorns?Unicorns are mystical creatures that make our dreams come true. In Silicon Valley, they are mystical billion dollar valued tech companies that make all their money dreams come true. Unfortunately, only four of them have been created by female founders. This is discouraging for me—why is it that there are so few women owned companies scaling to this level?Here’s why: Women are only getting 7 percent of venture capital and only 7 percent of stories in the media are about women founders.But I rather see this as an opportunity than a problem. Why? If women and men participated equally in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the United States’ GDP could rise by $30 billion. That would be a significant boost for our economy. So how do we accomplish this?Over the past months Dell, in partnership with Deloitte and Vanity Fair, curated a series of moderated conversations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco with some of the most influential people in our country to put forth a suite of recommendations that can help enhance women’s entrepreneurship in the United States. The suggestions for the necessary elements for success for women entrepreneurs focus on access to capital, expanding and supporting networks and markets, and addressing the changing face of business through technology.These recommendations were published in an open letter and signed by more than 80 entrepreneurs and business leaders, including Jessica Alba, Alexa von Tobel, Jean Case and Jesse Draper. The letter garnered millions of impressions online through the social media campaign #WhatWeNeedToSucceed and was covered broadly by the media (see: Vanity Fair, New York Magazine and Bizwomen to get a taste).In each city, the evening started with an interview of Stephanie Mehta, Deputy Editor of Vanity Fair, and a female entrepreneur rock star—Care.com CEO Sheila Marcelo in NYC, Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods, in Chicago, and Anne Wojcicki, 23andme, in San Francisco. Each of them shared with the group of women founders and business leaders how they had overcome challenges along their path of success.Male V.C.s don’t get women-focused start-upsIn New York City, Sheila Marcelo, founder and CEO of Care.com, shared with how she struggled to raise money for her business. The majority of venture capitalists were and are men, and often times they don’t understand the need for female founded startups, like Care.com.“I had to explain that they don’t need to be the ultimate customer to understand whether a female company can be a good investment,” she explained in an interview with Vanity Fair Deputy Editor Stephanie Mehta during the dinner.She won them over by explaining the greater implication of her business—finding good care when you need it—to the economy and community. Now the company is the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care, with more than 20.7 million members, spanning 18 countries. In 2014, it went public, and 2016 Google Capital became Care.com’s largest shareholder, investing $46.35 million, making this its first investment in a public company.The struggle remains as “a majority of investors and founders are not aware of any initiatives to increase diversity among founders in their portfolio or their teams,” according to a recent LinkedIn member survey on the state of diversity in venture capital and startups and the strategy toward changing the situation.She can’t do itImagine someone tells you: “There’s no way that a 27-year-old girl can run this company. That’s it. It’s done.” Hard to believe? Well this is exactly what Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, had to listen to while grieving her late father, the founder of the company. But instead of being discouraged she ignored the comment and set herself and the company up for greater success. A $250 million one for that matter with international footprint. Julie, together with 15 other female power entrepreneurs, continued the conversation in Chicago about the access to capital, the importance of networking and mentors, and how politicians can better support women in business. See the interview with Stephanie Mehta, Vanity Fair here:Two guys in a garage…No, that is not the beginning of a joke. All too often, it is the beginning of a glorious founder story. Anne Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe, is tired of this stereotype—and we are, too. At the last dinner in San Francisco, Anne shared with us how important it is to have more female role models telling their stories. After investing in health care companies for quite some time, she founded the personal genomics company with the mission to revolutionize the access to personal health information. Listen to Anne as she explains how she raised several million dollars and why mentoring is so dear to her heart:Hearing those great role models, I have no doubt that female entrepreneurs will rise and shine. But we need to collectively work on a better environment for entrepreneurs of all gender, race, age and ethnicity providing equal access to capital, networks and technology. Together we can create the millions of jobs needed to drive not only the US but the global economy. Please join me in raising our voices to make this happen and share #WhatWeNeedToSucceed.last_img read more

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My Experience in Dell’s Marketing Rotation Program

first_imgI still remember the excitement I felt upon reading the email from Susan Collard, manager of the Marketing Rotation Program, that I was approved to move to Dell’s office in Montpellier, France for my second rotation. A lifelong dream of working on three continents was about to come true!Dell’s Global Marketing Rotation Program (MRP) is an award winning program designed to develop Dell’s future leaders. The experience provides a select group of individuals an incredible opportunity to develop their careers at an accelerated rate. 8-12 candidates are selected globally each year, and participate in strategic level stretch assignments, leadership training and executive exposure as well as the credibility of being a part of this recognized top talent program.Before long, my first rotation with the North America Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) Demand Generation team was over and it was time to pack up and fly across the pond. Having already immigrated once to the United States and recollecting what an emotional nightmare the first day and night were, I expected to feel the same way upon arriving in France – and I did. Older and wiser doesn’t matter too much when you’re thrown out of your comfort zone. Yet again, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know a single person in the country, and this time, I had very poor language skills to boot!I started working for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Enterprise Center of Competence, tasked with the important project of streamlining the loan depot process. Given the nature of the region, I had to work with colleagues far and wide, often remotely, with the occasional opportunity to connect in person. I underwent a challenging learning curve to understand Dell’s business priorities in a new region, establish cordial working relationships with a vast number of stakeholders both internal and external to Dell, and project my brand as an approachable, problem solving and collaborative employee. Today, I can proudly say that I’ve helped set up a benchmark process that other regions are trying to replicate, and which currently generates tens of millions of dollars per quarter in pipeline for Dell. During my stint in Europe, I had the opportunity to attend Tech Summit 2015. In addition to hearing about latest technologies from Dell’s leadership in the region and meeting some of our biggest customers, I also interacted with key channel partners who were invited for the first time.I received overwhelming support from colleagues both on site at Montpellier as well as those based in other EMEA locations. Whether I needed to understand a Dell business process, navigate my paperwork with the local government or correct errors in my French, I could always find a willing and patient person. People went out of their way to make introductions and help me network. While there are too many instances to recount here, the ones that stand out include the annual beach party for the staff and their families in the lovely town of Grand Motte, and the International Day with colorful booths, plenty of delicacies and staff dressed up in traditional wear.While the traveler in me seeks infinite opportunities to explore unknown lands, I am nevertheless grateful for my 14 months in Europe. I extensively travelled across France, Spain, Andorra, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Ireland, Holland and Germany. The diversity of landscapes, foods, architecture, and the rich history of each region has me mesmerized for life. The French themselves were amazed at the strides I made in learning their language and the number of locations I visited in a short time – in many cases seeing more than they themselves had!Euro 2016 – the premier soccer tournament for European nations every 4 years – took place during my final months in Europe, and the Italian team camp was in Montpellier. As luck would have it, I got the opportunity to click a selfie (above) with my idol Gianluigi Buffon – arguably the best soccer goal keeper who ever lived. I’d visit the Italian team hotel and cheer the players on as they went off to practice. All my soccer loving friends were so envious that I was “hanging out” with the Italian team!In the midst of my hectic, yet enjoyable, undertakings in Europe, I had to start looking for my final rotation. With input from my managers and mentor, I decided to join the product group as a marketing manager for the Dell EMC Validated Systems. Friends and colleagues organized a series of sendoff parties, which were bittersweet. And so, here I am, back at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock. I am fortunate that yet again, I’ve found a role within Dell EMC that I absolutely love. What remains of my European sojourn are fond memories, friendships for life, compliments on an apparently improved fashion sense and the simplest testimonial from me: I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!last_img read more

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Dell EMC, Red Hat Deliver Best-in-Class Solutions for Service Providers

first_imgAt Dell EMC, we are focused on delivering open, disaggregated set of solutions from core to edge, and beyond.   The solutions we create allow service providers to remove proprietary infrastructure, decrease total cost of ownership and automate operations, as they deliver new sets of services and applications to their end customers. While reducing OpEx these solutions also enable service providers to get to revenue quicker, a win-win.Dell EMC and Red Hat have been partners for more than a decade and provide a jointly engineered, deeply integrated and fully-validated OpenStack solution for Service Providers and high-end enterprises. Both companies have dedicated and jointly staffed labs for OpenStack and open source development, testing, and performance engineering.At this year’s Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, we are excited to announce the latest version of Dell EMC NFV Ready Bundle for Red Hat v10.2 release to further simplify and accelerate OpenStack deployments for Communication Service Providers as well as Managed & Hosting Service Providers and high-end enterprises.This Ready solution includes pre-integrated bundle of open standards-based Dell EMC Cloud Infrastructure (compute, networking, storage and management tools) options with the Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 (long-term supported) including highly redundant, software-defined storage delivered by Red Hat Ceph as the default storage option.While the solution has “NFV” in its name, it delivers rapid and reliable business results for not only Communication Service Providers (CSPs/Telcos), but also Hosting Service Providers, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) as well as high-end enterprise private cloud buildersThe solution combines the innovation of OpenStack with fast automated deployment, highly reliable operations and simplified management, has pre-designed scalability for growth for both compute and storage and has full deployment automation to configure the hardware and software in just over an hour (based on internal testing) – consistently and reliably each time.At its core, significant value is created from the features we have added for service providers, especially the many NFV specific enhancements for CSPs. These include the following:14G Hardware Support: This release includes support for our latest 14th generation PowerEdge Servers based on Intel Skylake CPUs. These servers have been shown to have a 30 percent increase in performance and a 78 percent increase in scalability when compared to the previous solution Release with analogous PowerEdge 13G R-series rack servers. (Based on Dell EMC internal benchmark testing, April 2018.)25GbE NICs Support: To address the need for faster network throughput and lower latency for CSP use cases, we now fully support Intel XXV710 NICs and Mellanox CX4 NICs.Introduction of CSP and XSP Profiles: The solution is targeted for not only NFV/CSPs but also for xSPs or other service providers as well such as Hosting/Managed Service Providers, Consumer Web Techs, IaaS/PaaS/SaaS Service Providers. This release introduces the framework for profiles that make it easy to deploy OpenStack for a specific use case. The two profiles provided with this release automatically configure whole solution, SW and HW for the key features of xSP or CSP use cases to provide rapid and consistent deployment in an automated fashion. These are delivered as part of open sourced Jet Pack for ease of customization and adoption for customer specific workload scenarios.NFV Enhancements: These include several key NFV-specific features that many of our customers are asking for such as SR-IOV, Huge Pages, NUMA & CPU-Pinning, NIC Alignment and OVS-DPDK that are integrated into CSP profile.Additionally, while the bundle is available as a pre-integrated solution, we fully understand that service providers may need help with implementation of the solution or may need solutions customized for their needs. We make it easy with Dell EMC Professional Services. Dell EMC Professional Services can provide implementation of the bundle in your data center. The service includes hardware rack integration (on- or off-site) plus host operating system and OpenStack software installation.If you have advanced requirements, Dell EMC offers custom statement-of-work–based OpenStack Cloud Consulting services, including workshops, assessments, design and custom implementation.Dell EMC and Red Hat have been working together for over a decade, but in many ways we are just getting started. We will continue to integrate capabilities that service providers want to deliver solutions that reduce installation complexity, automate operations, enable seamless delivery new services but above all, provide confidence that the joint solutions are ready to work in production for service providers.Please visit us in the Dell EMC booth #903 at Red Hat Summit to learn more.Copyright © 2018 Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, and JBoss are trademarks or registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries. Java is the registered trademark of Oracle America, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.last_img read more

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VIRUS TODAY: US numbers fall but new strains cause concern

first_imgCoronavirus deaths and cases in the U.S. have dropped markedly over the past couple of weeks but are still running at alarmingly high levels. And the effort to snuff out COVID-19 is becoming an ever more urgent race between the vaccine and the mutating virus. Deaths are running at an average of just under 3,100 a day, down from more than 3,350 less than two weeks ago. New cases are averaging about 170,000 a day, after peaking at around 250,000. The country’s top infectious-disease expert says the improvements appear to be the result of a natural plateau after the holiday surge — not the effect of the vaccine. He urges continued vigilance.last_img

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Black woman quits Vermont town board; cites bigotry, safety

first_imgHARTFORD, Vt. (AP) — A Black member of a Vermont town’s selectboard has resigned, citing safety concerns and “blatant bigotry” in the community. The Valley News reports that Alicia Barrow sent a resignation letter to the Hartford selectboard on Friday evening. She wrote that she no longer feels safe nor welcome in a place that she has called home for 15 years. She says she’s been a victim of racial slurs and death threats over the phone, in person and by email. Her resignation comes after the leader of a Vermont NAACP branch stepped down in September, citing harassment, and the lone Black woman in the Legislature resigned in 2018, citing threats.last_img

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