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Selling to the CIO: Edge Computing

Selling to the CIO: Edge Computing

The key to selling Edge solutions to CIOs is demonstrating the value to the business, not concentrating on speeds and feeds, says Dell Technologies Brett Dunsmore.

Credit: 137830600 Wrightstudio | Dreamstime

CIOs are rapidly accelerating transformation projects, according to new data, and they’re asking for much stronger engagement from partners.

Almost nine out of 10 APAC CIOs say their role is now digital and innovation focused, according to Foundry’s 2022 State of the CIO survey.

They technologies they are looking to adopt include AI, edge computing, and HPC to power data-driven innovation, generating and processing enormous amounts of data.

“By 2025, we expect to see a shift toward 75% of all data being created outside of a traditional data centre,” says Brett Dunsmore, Principle Solutions Executive, Data Centre, Dell Technologies.

“We’re not talking small amounts of data – forecast growth is edging towards 73 zettabytes being generated from these far edge devices, globally.

“So the opportunity for partners is to innovate and differentiate themselves by identifying those areas of value add by understanding the customer’s data, and the positive impact that can be uncovered where the data is being created at the edge,” he explains.

Moving up the value chain

According to Dunsmore, what’s needed to move your proposal up the value chain is a selling strategy that first seeks to deeply understand the customer’s data, then shows how processing that data faster into actionable insights will deliver commercial benefit to the business.

Put another way, you build the business case to purchase the solution for the customer, so it’s an easy for them to get approval internally.

“My advice is to focus on things like data intensity, time to insights, control actuation and security to help identify edge opportunities,” he says.

Dunsmore uses the example of a supermarket chain that has an ongoing problem of customers miscategorising products – choosing “brown onions” rather than the much pricier red capsicum that they’re actually buying, for example. 

“The supermarket chain could enhance their self-checkout experience by using computer vision and AI inferencing to reduce product theft or to aid staff in identifying those bad actors.

“The value to the business is in reducing their losses, but the solution to deliver that is an always-on combination of far and near edge devices, driving real time, actionable insights from that data.

“Another example might be a ship loading terminal where technology like LIDAR is being coupled with near-edge ruggedised devices to compute vast amounts of data to drive significant efficiency by providing those real-time decisions.

“It’s about creating these efficiencies that scale which means more ships are loaded in a quicker timeline which means more product is being moved by the business.

“So understanding the value of the data to the business and the impact it has on their business is the key,” he says.

Asking the right questions

Dunsmore recommends that partners start with some common questions, like:

  • Where and how is this data being captured?
  • What type of data are you working with?
  • How quickly do you need insights from that data?

“Next you could talk to the customer about turning that data into intelligence – layering data models and training AI right there at the edge; taking steps to making those beyond human-scale decisions.

“And finally, you could talk to the customer about their need to act on that intelligence by using existing or cloud-connected applications to improve workflows and really drive that time to value,” Dunsmore says.

“Sometimes the workflow is already 80% in place, but you can make small changes that have big impacts and then showcase that back to the customer.

How Dell Technologies can help to prove value to customers

Dell Technologies can add value add for partners looking to put together sales proposals higher up the value chain.

For example, Dell can join partners in providing joint proofs of concept to reduce financial risk to the partner,

Partners can also put together bespoke solution designs faster with the assistance of Dell Technologies Customer Solution Centres.

If a partner has any perceived skill gaps with a customer, Dell can co-deliver solutions with the partner to help cover those gaps.

Dell Financial Services or APEX can put partners in a position of confidence to sell with consumption-based charging that works both for themselves and the customer. 

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