Michael Dell lays out vision to get enterprises to reimagine organizations for AI future

Last year, Dell Technologies World saw the company lay out its plan for its AI future. This year, the company made considerable progress, translating concepts into product, building out a much more detailed road map and rendering some things introduced last year obsolete.

Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell

LAS VEGAS – In the opening keynote at Dell Technologies World 24 here on Monday, Dell Chairman and CEO Michel Dell kicked off the event by highlighting the company’s vision, how the newer types of artificial intelligence fit into it, and how all this will benefit customers. Later, he would also be involved in discussing the new product that would embellish all this,

“We want you to reimagine your organization for AI – and we want you to start fast,” Dell told his keynote audience. “This feels like a new beginning but it has been the latest in a path that we have been on for a very long time.

Dell made a useful analogy comparing the development of IT to the historical generation of power. Power has been around since the ancient world, where it was typically generated by millers using wheel. It took a long time, however, to get beyond that to expand to broader and more efficient uses of power. He said that early forms of artificial intelligence were similar to the wheel, in providing a starting point, but the real returns only would come through more modern and efficient types of AI, particularly modern cognition.

“Cognition requires a whole rewiring of everything that happens,” Dell said. “All of that progress that came before was really just a pre-game show. As we move from computation and calculation to cognition, we need to avoid using AI to turn the wheel, and instead use it to harness hyperintelligence.”

Dell, in AI factory, data is the fuel – computation and calculation have been around for 60 years – cognition is new

“Great technologies really drive human progress, and we believe AI can advance progress in dramatic ways,” said Jeff Boudreau, Chief AI Officer at Dell. “AI Up is how we embed AI. AI On is about how to have work class infrastructure. AI For was for Dell, as it was originally designed for our internal use. Now it has turned into what I call a community practice.  AI With reflected the fact that the pace of AI expansion moves so fast that no one company can do it alone. That’s critical for us. It will take an ecosystem to bring that all together.”

It will also require a significant change in practices.

“What we have earned over time is that you don’t want to lock all your data up,” Dell said. “Inferencing can be 70% more effective on-prem than a public cloud. You want to bring AI to your data, not the other way around.”

Dell, customers have all see an opportunity to reimagine their business and make it more productive.

“You start with data – essentially storage, then compute, then services, then add software – put it all together and it’s an AI factory,” said Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman, Products & Operations at Dell. “We have to simplify, standardize and automate. If you don’t, AI isn’t very efficient. We’ve been able to curate new processes, in which we apply intelligence to improve deliverable touches by over 90%. The result is that developers are spending time developing better code quicker.”

Dell said that their biggest customers are seeing strong demand, but he also emphasized that customers as a whole are at wildly different degrees of AI adoption.

“It’s a multi-speed world,” he stated. “Of the top 200 customers about 15-20% are delivering AI, then beneath that there is  – then a big portion are still trying to figure it out.

“Many are still trying to figure out where to start, but some of these are getting benefit today,” Clark said. The rule is follow the data, and 83% of the data is on prem. That’s where companies need to get to get the insights.”

Many customers started proof of concepts in the public cloud and it was fine until they started to build,” Dell added. “We can do it several times less expensively.”

This doesn’t mean many AI systems will look the same.

“Nothing says we won’t have a very diverse AI system,” Clarke added.

Dell also stressed that strong channel participation is needed to make this strategy a success.

“We have one of the biggest ecosystems in the industry, which is important in this phase of reimagination and reinvention,” Dell told partners. “We need all you to grow your AI capabilities.”