During this Partner Perspective interview, Cloudera’s Alvin Heib seizes the opportunity to speak with Benjamin Krebs, General Manager of Technology Enterprise in Germany. The pair discuss Benjamin’s role at Dell, the importance of partnerships in his region, how the pandemic has altered Dell’s working landscape and finally, some predictions Benjamin has on Dell’s future.
Benjamin has eleven years of experience working for Dell and is responsible for taking care of all top two-hundred customers’ revenue. The sector he manages, Technology Enterprise, generates approximately $1 billion a year. Benjamin describes his work as big business and as big fun. He loves working with his customers to create a better future for Germany.
Being part of Dell’s Technology Partner program allows a company to build innovative and competitive business solutions whilst lowering customer costs: the ideal for any company.
Alvin: Partnerships are an integral part of the way Dell works. Why are technology partnerships so important for you in your region?
Benjamin: I think of ‘partnership’ as two parts coming together who complement one another. Technology partnerships are so important because our customers want to drive their businesses forward in the end. They want digital solutions to better serve their customers. Our customers need complete solutions to do this.
What opportunities do you think this brings to Dell Technologies?
Partnerships are enriching the solutions we can jointly bring to our customers. This means we can be more relevant together for our customers, moving them quicker to success.
Transformation and digitalization are happening across every industry, affecting every customer, and it’s speeding up. Not one person can do it alone. Customers are looking for business partners. Technology companies are the same. They partner with other tech companies to bring the customers what they want to bring them forward on their digitization journey.
Dell, like many other companies, has had to adapt due to the pandemic. The health and safety of their workers is their top priority, and they have implemented a global ‘work-from home’ policy for their employees.
How do you overcome the challenge of working at home with such a big company like Dell?
As a company, we weren’t driven to have people working in an office. We tended to work wherever we could. We’ve always had the technology; we own it, we build it, so in that sense, it was easy. However, we did have to support our customers as they made the rapid transition.
The next step was to make working from home a great team experience. We made sure people had contact with their teams. It was crucial to make sure they still felt like part of the company. We had espresso mornings where we had a thirty-minute call, drank coffee, and chatted about self-reporting before work. At one point, we even had remote sports classes. We kept the culture up.
How do you manage embarrassing video call slip-ups?
It wasn’t so much the embarrassing, but the fun moments: like when someone’s screen goes dark because a big hairy thing passes over a camera, and it’s a cat. Or the kids coming in and wanting something.
Although we couldn’t see the customers physically, we got to see them more privately, which le d to stronger relationships.
Today with the pandemic, CEOs are searching for quick answers. How do you find this positively impacting your work?
CEOs realized much quicker and how much more important technology was for their businesses. It led to higher importance and status of technologies solving problems for CEOs. Regarding quicker outcomes and solutions, the IT department, CIOs and CDOs became more interactive with the CEO. Or the CEOs themselves saw how they could make the most of their data and how they could digitally update their business model. Everything was sped up by the pandemic.
Dell has recently partnered with Institute for the Future to study emerging technologies and discover what impact this will have on the company going forward. What are three technologies or sectors that are getting into digital transformations with Dell Technologies?
In Germany, we saw a huge push and invest and leap forward in the government sector. They weren’t equipped and enabled with the mobility to work from home; it wasn’t a priority for them. It’s a great movement for digitizing government processes.
Also, traditional industries saw digitization as their future and their success. They began investing heavily in the digitization industry, such as the car company VW. They keep up with the pace and digitized and brought all their processes together. They’re a sector we love to work with.
There are also other sectors we’re seeing undergoing massive transformations. The finance sector has begun changing too. Big banks are seeing a lot of competition. Digital competitors are cropping up, so the bigger banks are changing their business models and strategies to keep up and compete. They’re also changing how they interact with their customers, which is more digital than physical.
How does a partner evolve and adapt to help Dell in their business today?
I think that a couple of years ago, it would have been with partnerships that built products that complemented our infrastructure. There’s now a strong focus on software partnerships, where we are combining software capabilities with our technology infrastructure solutions and then creating the full solution.
On the software side, it’s clearly data-focused. You can take data and make decisions with it to really make your business more intelligent and digital.
What are your predictions in the 2020 financial year for big data analytics and enterprise data cloud?
It’s going to be about the market and the angles we can drive. Enterprises are only analyzing three percent of available data right now. It will become an integral part of business models of the companies we work with. I hope the companies we work with will find a way to utilize much more than three percent. Hopefully, all of it. As this happens, service models will grow, and we’ll have more partners with us.
So let’s move into a short “On the volley” round. I want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind. What do you think of when I say ‘winning’?
Challenges: Love them!
And one that I really like, and if important to me, is trust: The basis of everything.
You can visit Dell Technologies to see the strides the company are taking to bring us the future, today. https://www.dell.com/