I just got back to Europe following three days at EMC’s Headquarters just outside Boston in the US where I was attending the 2012 Technology Advisory Team Summit. The Technology Advisory Team is a forum that comprises EMC’s senior customer facing technologists from around the the world – Field CTOs that cover specific sectors or geographies like myself and Hans Timmerman, who is EMC’s CTO in The Netherlands as well as our most influencial sales engineers and sales engineering management from around the World. It’s chaired my Markus Pleier, EMC’s CTO in EMEA, who is very well connected within EMC and able to get the best possible speakers along to these Forum events as a result.
The timing for the event was great – on Monday and Tuesday this week EMC’s senior leadership from across the globe were also meeting near Boston to review performance for 2011 and agree the priorities for 2012. As a result, we had the key leaders from product groups, the CTO office and a member of the executive team on hand to give the Forum an update on what’s in store for 2012, including the strategic themes we see in our end user and Service Provider customers, upcoming product launches and the change initiatives that we will be executing to enable the business to scale up and achieve an even higher level in performance than we did in 2011.
We were also able get an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of EMC’s thought leaders and celebrity bloggers(!) Chuck Hollis and Chad Sakac, who gave their perspective on key customer themes and objectives for 2012, the challenges we need to overcome and opportunities we need to exploit. Chad, who runs the VMware/EMC relationship, also gave us an update on what VMware will be doing in 2012, and what this means for EMC. Of course, it’s a given that the benefits from tight EMC and VMware engineering and go-to-market relationship will continue to be incredibly important to our Service Provider partners.
Aside from the discussions with the executives, much of the three days was taken up with updates from EMC’s product groups and we were able to get a detailed update on the planned product launches for 2012, the medium term roadmap beyond these and the longer term strategy for each of the product families.
Obviously I can’t give any specifics on these as everything is under a strict embargo until the official launches, but it should suffice to say two things. Firstly, all the products will continue to gain performance scalability and feature enhancements – you should pay particular attention to EMC World, which takes place in Las Vegas in May because as you would probably guess, some very significant announcements will be made there.
Secondly, Service Provider features and functions will be added to products at an increasing rate – this will include enhancements to multi-tenancy separation, control and management features and an increasing focus on standardisation and enhancement of control APIs, which is critical in order to ease integration between EMC products an to enable them to be integrated with other systems, a simplistic example would be VMware vCenter, but for Service Providers think REST APIs that enable integration with orchestration and billing systems without the need to develop customised software adaptors.
The whole event left me feeling as though 2012 is going to be a great year for EMC’s Service Provider Business – there’s a huge amount to do to maximise our success, but more importantly there’s a huge amount we can do for our Service Provider partners and that we can do together with these partners for our joint customers.