Joyce Mullen is president of global channel, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and internet of things (IoT) at Dell Technologies. Mullen, who has been with Dell for 20 years, spoke about the company’s channel sales, women in technology and her experience of working with founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Dell. Edited excerpts:
What are your priorities for the channel sales business for the coming year?
We have three strategic imperatives we are working on to help our partners grow their business. First, we have a huge portfolio and great solutions and we have to figure out operationally how to make it simple for our partners to work with Dell, and how to help our partners engage and transact across the Dell technology family of companies. Then the most exciting part of helping them embrace and monetize these brand new technologies, such as IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, machine learning (ML), which are great business opportunities for our partners, as they require a level of expertise that customers demand to work their way through the adoption of these technologies.
Your IoT business is still a fledgling business; how are you planning to grow that?
Even 25 years ago we had IoT, but we didn’t call it IoT. I used to be a plant manager and we had sensors on production lines to stop production automatically for safety reasons.
The opportunity now though is to deploy those solutions more cost effectively and much more broadly, especially with 5G. However, that broader base deployment is complicated as it requires a certain level of vertical expertise, infrastructure solutions, which we have, but it also requires software that layers on top of that and is very specific to a use case and industry. So, we have been trying to figure out how to work across our ecosystem to identify partners who have that vertical expertise, or that software to manage, and put that with our hardware so that it is easier for our partners to consume.
We are also building in some of these emerging technologies into the very product design. For instance, we are building AI into our storage products, or into our compute solutions so that it becomes easier for our partners and customers to incorporate into their infrastructure and business processes.
What do you think of women in technology?
Diversity and inclusion is part of our company and we have done a number of things to drive this. We have a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiative, where we are trying to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM. After all, the world today needs more data scientists, engineers and technologists, and there’s no reason why half of them should not be women. So, this is a focus we drive.
Internally we have a bunch of training programmes, we also have the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, where Dell connects female entrepreneurs across the globe with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology.
How does 5G drive emerging technologies?
5G enables a bunch of emerging technologies, and we are excited about the build-up to 5G because it is a big infrastructure opportunity for us, and it enables a bunch of other activity like IoT technologies. 5G will change the topology of IT environments–everything from servers, network functions, data flows and how security works.
Inherently, I am a digital optimist and I think this technology is going to solve way more problems than it creates.
I think we can solve the world’s most vexing problems with technology. Our customers are excited and that is why we see an investment wave. They see this as an opportunity that will transform their own businesses and deliver much better solutions to customers.
How do you view India?
India is one of the most innovative markets that we see. Our OEM business is very robust in India and that is because so many new companies, so many new solutions are being built all the time.
We want to win because it does set the trend for other emerging markets (EMs). It’s a fabulous foundation for the economy, I think.