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McLaren car at Dell Tech Forum, symbolises the innovation Dell drives. Pic by JASON BANNIER

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Innovation takes centre stage at Dell Forum

Many believe their organisations will become irrelevant in the coming years, but there is a solution, writes JASON BANNIER.

Innovation is the linchpin for the future of work and technology. This was the key message of last week’s 2023 Dell Technologies Forum in Kyalami, which brought together thought leaders and industry experts to explore a spectrum of topics.

In a video address, Dell chairman and CEO Michael Dell underscored the pivotal role innovation plays in a business’s success in the digital age. Referencing findings from Dell’s Innovation Index, he said that about two thirds of employees believe their companies are currently innovative (68%), and almost half fear their organisations will become irrelevant in the next 3 to 5 years due to a perceived lack of innovation (42%).

Dell emphasised the integration of technology and human capabilities, warning that failure to embrace constant innovation may result in being left behind in an evolving landscape. GM for Southern African Douglas Woolley echoed Dell’s standpoint, saying: “We believe that innovation is at the heart of every organisation.”

The index also categorised the state of innovation maturity for South Africa, revealing that most believe they are innovation evaluators (53%), those that adhere to gradual innovation and planning. 

Higher up are the innovation adopters (23%), and at the top are innovation leaders (3%). None say they are innovation laggards (those with no innovation plans; limited initiatives and investments). However, about a fifth say they are innovation followers, with very few investments; or tentative plans (21%).

A notable finding is the transformative impact of innovation on business outcomes. Companies identified as innovation leaders and adopters are 1,7 times less likely to face skilled IT labour shortages, and more likely to:

  • Thrive during economic uncertainty by 2,2 times.
  • Experience higher revenue growth, at 15% or more, by 1,9 times.
  • Create new customer value through innovation by 1,2 times.

The index identified key technology barriers:

  • Struggling to turn data into real-time insights (67%).
  • Do not have holistic end-to-end security strategy (57%).
  • Battling complexity at edge (54%).
  • Growing cloud costs (51%).
  • Cannot securely work from anywhere (37%).

Dell Technologies CTO for EMEA, Mark O’Regan, said: “Going from ideation to execution is extremely difficult, and that is where innovation lives.”

He highlighted the big 5 evolving technologies of today as AI, multicloud, edge, work, and security. 

“This is where we put our innovation”, he said.

The 2023 Dell Technologies Forum not only revealed prevailing sentiments on innovation maturity in South Africa, but also emphasised the transformative impact on business outcomes.

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