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EMC CEO defends federated business model, debunks storage myths

John Gallant | Sept. 4, 2014
There's EMC and then there's EMC.

So it's all about, again, how do I get the best talent to focus on their mission? How do I align the missions with the different companies in the federation? Then how do I say to customers: We've got a whole stack for you. It's incredibly compelling but I believe in the right of choice. I think that's what the federation does for us.

Computerworld: One big challenge of that federation model is getting customers who deal with these individual companies to understand the whole federation strategy as well as how all the pieces come together. How do you deal with that challenge?

Tucci: The last piece of it is — and this is the piece, in hindsight, maybe we should have done earlier or better — is operational alignment. How can we go together to a customer? One of the things I should have done, which we're taking steps [to address], is for the larger accounts, have one global account manager that each of the federation works with to make sure that where the customer wants it we can appear as one. Where they want more point solutions, we can also [do that]. Any choice a customer makes, we have an opportunity someplace in the federation. It's kind of a fine-dining menu. On the left side you've got the prix fixe and on the right side you've got a la carte, and if you want it all blended and matched together with wine, delivered elegantly, we've got that. If you say: Well, today I only want the salad and a pasta entrée — you can do that.

Computerworld: How do you and the leaders in this federation set direction? If you look at the model most people are familiar with, a big tech company buys other companies, blends them all under one roof and the CEO sets the direction. How do you do that in that federated model where you have multiple CEOs working together?

Tucci: That's the strategic alignment. That where you're saying: Okay, here's a set of missions you're going to work on. Here's a set of missions that the second CEO is going to work on. In our case we have kind of three-and-a-half companies in the federation. Basically we run it as if we had a security company, a storage/converged infrastructure company, a virtualization and end-user computing company and a big data company. Paul Maritz runs Pivotal; Pat Gelsinger runs VMware; David Goulden runs EMC Information Infrastructure; Art Coviello, who reports to David, runs RSA. Each of them is developing their strategy and what you're doing over the front is saying: How do these strategies fit together with a minimal amount of overlap? But I'm a big believer in the overlap theory, or else you're going to leave seams and, as I said before, that's exactly where your competitors will exploit those seams.


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