Mumbai: India’s largest public sector lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), is undertaking a “massive digital banking transformation exercise" and setting up a major innovation centre to explore the integration of emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, with the services the bank currently offers.

It was for this very reason that it received the TrailBlazers award at the Dell Technologies Inc. event held in Las Vegas this April. Dell Technologies implemented a converged private cloud (on premise) with the help of its subsidiary VMware, as part of SBI’s digital transformation.

Elsewhere, Dell EMC IoT (Internet of Things) solutions are helping US-based AeroFarms LLC’s plant scientists monitor more than 130,000 data points every harvest to constantly review, test and improve the system using predictive analytics, minimizing the risks associated with traditional agriculture.

These examples demonstrate that Dell Technologies is sharpening its focus on technologies like the artificial intelligence (AI) suite comprising machine learning and deep learning, IoT, robotics and human-machine partnerships—all in an effort to sell its products and services and stay relevant in the digital world—more than 18 months after completing its $67 billion merger with EMC.

Michael Dell, founder and chief executive of Dell Technologies, though, is a contrarian in many ways in the world of technology.

For instance, he still believes that the world of personal computers (PCs) is “rocking" in this mobile age. This, even as worldwide PC shipments totalled 61.7 million units in the first quarter of 2018—a 1.4% decline from the first quarter of 2017, according to preliminary results by research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

Second, Dell continues to believe that private data centres will score over public clouds in a multi-cloud world. “They (Dell Technologies) are the last man standing in many regards and their private data centre business keeps the efficiencies of scale for them to be able to offer the PCs at the volume and cost structure that enables profits," says Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. He, however, cautions that if cloud migration moves more quickly and clients choose the public cloud over private cloud in larger numbers, it would pose a risk.

Third, even as Dell took his company private in 2013, one of his combined entity’s flagship units VMware is a listed entity.

Yet, one thing that Dell Technologies has in common with all other technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM), Apple, Amazon.com and Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Nvidia, Oracle and HPE is the belief that everything is getting “cloud- and software-defined" and “AI-powered" in today’s digital world, which explains why all these companies are integrating these newer technologies in their products.

For instance, Dell EMC offers solutions for the so-called “Modern Data Centre" and also delivers AI, machine learning and deep learning capabilities from the desktop to the data centre with new capabilities for servers, storage and workstations.

The story is similar for Dell EMC in India. During a select media gathering on the sidelines of the Las Vegas event, Michael Dell made special mention of the India Stack—a set of application programming interfaces, or APIs, that allow governments, businesses, start-ups and developers to utilize the country’s digital infrastructure for payments, healthcare, etc.—in this regard.

According to a Greyhound survey titled ‘State of AI 2017’, more than 53% large organizations globally (interviewed 5,000 companies in 50 countries) are either already using AI for a project, conducting a Proof of Concept (PoC) or else planning to launch an initiative in the next 12 months.

According Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst, founder and CEO, Greyhound Research, as companies invest more in AI to automate, they are fundamentally removing people from the system. “When you do that, the need to keep track of any possible issues increases multifold and both speed and accuracy matter. This is where Dell EMC holds most strength and depth with its end-to-end professional services—from system design and implementation planning to installation, configuration and ongoing system support needed to deliver to clients a true HPC (high performance computing) environment. This is the bedrock of any project that demands autonomous data mining."

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