Dell CIO: In Search Of Infrastructure Management Innovation - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
12/19/2008
06:37 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Dell CIO: In Search Of Infrastructure Management Innovation

I spoke with Dell CIO Steve Schuckenbrock today, who said this about the $1.2 trillion a year companies spend on IT infrastructure. One-third is on hardware, where Moore's Law relentlessly drives improvement. The other two-thirds is spent managing infrastructure, and there's "no innovation to speak of" in that arena. Too harsh?

I spoke with Dell CIO Steve Schuckenbrock today, who said this about the $1.2 trillion a year companies spend on IT infrastructure. One-third is on hardware, where Moore's Law relentlessly drives improvement. The other two-thirds is spent managing infrastructure, and there's "no innovation to speak of" in that arena. Too harsh?I don't necessarily think so. But first, the context on Schuckenbrock's assessment.

In addition to being CIO, Schuckenbrock is president of Dell Global Services, which includes infrastructure management. Dell's making a sizable bet on services, spending about $500 million over the past 12 months, along with several acquisitions, to build capability for remote infrastructure management. That's where functions such as provisioning software, patch management, archiving, and antivirus updating are done by Dell remotely, automatically, and without software on the PC being managed.

Dell envisions this services push letting it repeat the PC glory days, where Dell's direct sales strategy and superior supply chain shook up an established industry. "If you look at the services industry today, it's archaic, it's labor intensive, it's not a very efficient supply chain, and it needs the same kind of disruption," Schuckenbrock says.

Schuckenbrock, a former co-COO of EDS, paints Dell as the ideal disruptor to the services supply chain, since it doesn't have a revenue base to protect in the conventional outsourcing model. Some worry that means Dell doesn't have the breadth to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard, which acquired EDS. Plenty of companies, including the Indian outsourcing companies, are jockeying to offer remote infrastructure management.

Regardless of who provides such services, or even whether they stay in house, Schuckenbrock's broad point -- that there's a need for fresh innovation in infrastructure management -- rings true. In too many companies, IT remains the cobbler's child, helping other business units drive automation and process improvements but not doing the same for its own IT operations and processes. Managing IT remains a people-intensive process at many companies, something that begs for change as the pressure grows to cut the cost of keeping the IT lights on.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll