Re: Shifting into reverse while moving forward - Is that accurate?
Charlie, I work for Dell.
Your commentary is absolutely fair, but the context is missing on the leading and trainling edge of it. The chaos and disorganization is with realtion to how our competition is focusing on itself, or on customers. Where it is investing R&D to advance their own agendas in the public sphere or those of customers. I encourage you to read the keynote to get the complete story - Text of the speech as prepared for delivery is available in the Dell World 2014 Press Kit
On the trailing end, the plans that were made with respect to the approach to delivering clouds with datacenters across the world were the same that the competition was doing, but it also ran the risk of alienating our partners and limiting the reach that we would have to service the needs of clients: Yes we do that, or no we don't - very binary. By deciding to provide partners with the technology in their own datacenters and enabling clients to have choice and access that through a portal that allows them to choose what is best for specific use cases makes more sense and better services their needs. I would say that was accomplished in a ""highly organized, non-chaotic way."
The result is that clients can access service providers like Microsoft, Amazon, Joyent, Centurylink, R-Systems and others, while normalizing access to those resources through Boomi, Dell Cloud Manager, or the tools they are already using.
So was this a shift into reverse? Perhaps a better car analogy has little to do with forward and reverse, but more to do with understanding that there are 5 gears plus reverse, and that there is an accelerator and brake that allow us to change speed and direction as the conditions change. That's the fleixibility that Dell has now that we are a privately held company that can focus on our clients, not on what the market dictates. A roadmap tells you where you are and where you want to be, but it doesn't tell you what detours and weather conditions will be along the way. The reaction and response to those situations as well as looking ahead to see what roadblocks may be there is what has gotten Dell where we are today.