EMC World 2016: Mr. Tucci’s Mythical Ride into the Future

B. Shimmin
B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • At EMC World, EMC’s current chairman of the board of directors, Joe Tucci, took a mythical ride atop a ‘hoverboard,’ drawing an interesting parallel between himself and his company’s interest in exploring new market opportunities after the Dell merger is finalized.
  • Possible opportunities include IoT, telecom enablement, supercomputing, and public cloud hosting.

There’s nothing that screams ‘modernization’ more than the image of a well-respected industry executive moving around on the main stage of an annual user conference tenuously perched atop one of those kitschy – and often unexpectedly flammable – two-wheeled ‘hoverboards.’ But, that’s exactly what Joe Tucci, EMC’s current chairman of the board of directors, supposedly did during Monday’s keynote address at EMC World 2016 in Las Vegas. Thankfully everyone stayed safe and shared a bit of a laugh. As the keynote progressed, however, and as more information on Dell’s pending acquisition of EMC emerged, it became painfully clear to this analyst that this was likely the last user conference branded ‘EMC World,’ and perhaps it was also the end of EMC itself, at least as far as we’ve known it.

The notion of modernizing the data center was actually the theme of this year’s show, which made Mr. Tucci’s supposed ride all the more poignant, drawing a parallel between the ride and EMC itself. The idea being of course that age is only a number and old dogs can learn new tricks, etc. And as applied to EMC, the idea being that a staid storage vendor can modernize itself via a rapidly approaching merger with Dell and thereafter pounce upon massive opportunities beyond data center modernization, opportunities like the cloud. Post-merger, the combined entity, Dell EMC, may indeed eye a number of markets that will forever alter how the overall company operates. Those opportunities include:

Can Dell EMC pull all or any one of these off? Certainly. Both Dell and EMC currently touch each of these implicitly or explicitly, owing to a shockingly broad swath of sub-companies including VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks, Virtustream, and RSA. So, how will Dell EMC behave post-merger? Will it ply Dell’s established global PC and server sales channel in order to push EMC storage gear into SMB and mid-market enterprises? Will it seek to disrupt established markets? Or, will it seek out new market opportunities that are just beginning to take shape? I’m confident that all three scenarios (exploit, disrupt, explore) will play out to one degree or another post-merger.

Addendum: I say “supposedly” in reference to Mr. Tucci’s Hoverboard ride, by the way, because the balletic display we witnessed was certainly enacted by someone other than Mr. Tucci himself, presumably by an expert hoverboarder, assuming such an avocation exists. Anyone familiar with Joe Tucci’s history knows that the soon-to-perhaps-retire chairman is if anything adaptive and tenacious. He brought Wang out of bankruptcy and fended off investor pressure to spin off VMware, which brings us back to the Dell acquisition. Those were no small feats. I have no doubt that had his handlers allowed it, Mr. Tucci would have ridden the hoverboard. And I have no doubt that he will help Michael Dell bring Dell EMC forward to tackle these opportunities.

What do you think?

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