Dell: Welcoming Disruption for Innovation to Create Dell 2.0

By | March 19, 2014


Who owns your data? Who should? Big shake ups at Dell these days where Executive Director of IT and Chief Data Officer Rob Schmidt says IT does not own the data. Shocking right?  But, no. With the reinvention of Dell 2.0, Rob is breaking up processes and shaking things up. With the implementation of Teradata’s Unified Data Architecture ™, Dell has the potential to reap millions in ROI. Unprecedented.

Rob Schmidt, Executive Director IT

So what did Dell do?  Dell bridged two previously siloed organizations – IT and Marketing and according to Rob Schmidt it took ‘brute force’ to get them together.

I think the first big step we had to make was the concept that IT doesn’t own the data, the concept that the business owns the data. I own the IT infrastructure; I own the compliance. I own those things but the business owns the data. So once we were able to kind of break that barrier we– then who owns data governance, who owns data cleanliness and all of that, right, so really breaking down the first structure and putting in place a governance council across the business that owns every single piece of data that exists within Dell and helps IT– IT sits at that table but just sits at it, doesn’t lead it– helps IT drive down those data governance needs, those data quality needs. That was probably the biggest first shift that we had to make.” Rob Schmidt – Exec. Director IT

As the relationship was forged – IT worked on system rationalization. Bringing all the data together and creating a culture of a data driven business.

Unified Data Architecture 

Rob says he wants every single piece of data, no matter the size or structure.  With Unified Data Architecture ™ (UDA) the data infrastructure can handle it all. The challenge is finding the right data to collect and knowing where to place it for the most value. IT has set up a three tier architecture for the business so users can perform self-service analytics and deliver meaningful projects in shorter periods of time.

Tier 1 – In tier 1, business gets to ‘play’ in the environment with Aster and Hadoop.  It’s high flexibility allows for self governance with dynamic data.

The big piece– the three-tier architecture really is a byproduct of us needing to create a framework that the business had the agility in that was secure, that was robust and that had all of the data integrated to it already. I couldn’t allow the business to start to play with something that wasn’t IT sanctioned within a data center but I needed to give them that ability. Rob Schmidt – Exec. Director IT

Tier 2 – The second tier, as Rob puts it, ‘is the path to the 3rd tier’.  This is where analytics created by the business mature and are promoted for automation and scheduling.

Tier 3 – The promised land for data!  Here, the data is productionalized – with rigid governance and strict SLA’s.

“So it was how do we drive them on to our platforms that already have those three characteristics to start to drive them up through the stack that way. The three-tier architecture really was just a byproduct of how do I set up a framework to make that agreement work.”  Rob Schmidt – Exec. Director IT

It’s these tiers that have led Dell business and IT to their successful data driven business and culture and a very successful social media use case. Dell takes social media data in the Teradata Aster/Hortonworks Hadoop environment and then derives a relationship with customer and sales data in the integrated data warehouse.  Before using the Teradata Aster discovery platform marketing could identify only 33% of respondents, and relate that to their propensity to buy.  Now, customer identification,  increases to 66%, driving it back to an email address.  That additional information enhances propensity models and makes future campaigns more successful.

“The use around social media data is a phenomenal use case for us. There are a bunch of other technologies in how you tie that back together and actually act on it but the analyzing of that happens in our big data analysts– analyzing environment.” Rob Schmidt – Exec. Director IT

Dell is in the process of re-inventing itself following it’s privatization in October 2013. That disruption and innovation is refreshing.   We’re happy to be a part of their innovation and future.

Congratulations to Dell and their entire team for driving toward a data driven organization!

One thought on “Dell: Welcoming Disruption for Innovation to Create Dell 2.0

  1. avatarPaul Dennies

    Great example of the UDA architecure and its common compute fabric allowing business users to find and monetize insights in big data. This article really shows the benefit of IT providing business users with an agile analytic development environment.


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