In 2011, Marc Andreesen attracted a lot of attention with an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal in which he wrote, “Software is eating the world.” That column brought into focus the enormous opportunities being seized by software-driven upstarts who were upending incumbent market leaders — from traditional entertainment providers and booksellers to manufacturers of mobile phones.At EMC, we talk quite a bit about what we call “software-defined enterprises” — companies that are using some combination of cloud, mobile, social and big data to rewrite the rules for their industries, from the likes of Tesla in automobiles to Uber for cars for hire. These born-in-the-digital era companies get lots of attention for their novel approaches and rethinking of existing business models. But what about established businesses that are learning to adapt their models for a cloud/mobile world?There are plenty of success stories here as well, and they are the focus of a new book released today: Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation, co-authored by Andrew McAfee and George Westerman, both of MIT’s Center for Digital Business, along with Didier Bonnet, who leads Digital Transformation at Capgemini Consulting. [Disclosure: We know Andy’s work well. EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci hosted a breakfast session at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos on Andy’s previous book, The Second Machine Age. And Bonnet’s firm is a good business partner of EMC.]Leading Digital is worth a read by anyone who wants to understand how technology leadership is redefining business. “Technology is reaching into every corner of the business world,” the book notes—“every industry, company, process, decision, and job—bringing deep changes in how companies are structured and led, and how they perform and compete. Over time, it will create a new playing field with new rules—and new winners and losers.”The authors tell how Burberry, the upscale clothier for aging baby boomers, has used technology to refashion its brand for the Millennial generation of consumers. How Ceasars Entertainment grew its business through a personalized loyalty program that capitalizes on customer data and predictive analytics. How the Cleveland Museum of Art expanded access to its collection through an innovative digital catalogue. How Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, in Chile, uses technology to automate operational processes.What distinguishes digital leaders (this books labels them “Digital Masters”) from the rest of the pack? According to Westerman, Bonnet and McAfee, they possess strong overarching digital visions, strong governance across business unit silos, strong digital cultures throughout their companies, and they have “many digital initiatives generating business value in measurable ways.” They invest in digital capabilities, but more importantly, they pursue digital agendas that are driven by executive leaders at the top. Amazingly, after studying more than 400 global firms, the authors observe, “we saw no examples of successful transformation happening bottom-up.”Source: George Westerman, Claire Calméjane, Didier Bonnet, Patrick Ferraris, and Andrew McAfee, “Digital Transformation: A Roadmap For Billion-Dollar Organizations,” Capgemini Consulting and MIT Center For Digital Business, November 2011.By contrast, firms beginning their journey down the path of digital transformation may carry out innovative experiments here and there, but they are limited by executive management teams that are skeptical of the business value of advanced digital technologies and, consequently, by immature digital cultures across their firms.“The best way to get ready for these changes,” argue Westerman, Bonnet and McAfee, “is to start the work of becoming a Digital Master now. Companies that are indifferent to technology (to say nothing of hostile to it), or that haven’t figured out how to make it part of the lifeblood of the enterprise, are going to have an increasingly hard time as the innovations keep mounting and the management breakthroughs keep coming.”Perhaps the most memorable data point in the book is the authors’ finding that Digital Masters are 26 percent more profitable and generate nine percent more revenue from physical assets than other firms. To the authors, it’s not yet clear how much of this is cause-and-effect — whether the best use of technology leads to outsized profits — or how much of this is merely correlation (the more profitable companies just happen to be a step ahead of competitors), but one thing’s for certain: as this new book makes clear, “the best managed companies manage digital activity well.”Is your business a Digital Master?
This post is co-authored by Youssef Serghat, a Solution Architect at Dell Digital Business ServicesPaving the way for an integrated and coordinated Health Information Exchange system following the VA modelWhen it comes to quality, cost-effective and evidence-based treatments, U.S. Veteran’s Administration (VA) healthcare system rarely comes to the mind of most Americans. In his book “Best Care Anywhere,” Phillip Longman describes why VA, contrary to the public perception, today is considered the safest, most effective and integrated healthcare delivery system in the world.Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), is a bundle of thousands of programs that were collaboratively developed and integrated by doctors and programmers in VA healthcare facilities across the country. Today, VistA is open source software, considered the most comprehensive Electronic Health Records (EHR) application in the U.S., and embraced by many countries around the world. What makes VistA effective is its obsession on delivering the best-value care, with a focus on long-term patient care. This focus prevents medical errors and follows a best-in-class model for medical studies. VistA accomplishes this coordinated care through interoperability and the use of its unique and highly integrated EHR system.The successes realized by the VA integrated IT model were objectives of the Health Information Exchange (HIE) initiatives. However, these HIEs came short in creating a truly integrated and interoperable electronic health information exchange that is focused on improving efficiency and cost in both the delivery process and patient outcomes. The complexity of HL7 standards and failure to use EHR systems in a more meaningful way are two main factors for HIEs shortcomings.New government incentives and Meaningful Use requirements, along with HL7 FHIR standards and open source technology are designed to support the creation of a truly integrated Health Information Exchange (HIE) ecosystem that follows the VA healthcare model.Meaningful UseMeaningful Use (MU) is one of the key features of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH), which is part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2009. The goal of MU is to encourage the use of EHRs in a more meaningful, coordinated and integrated way. In their book “Hacking Healthcare,” Fred Trotter and David Uhlman describe MU as “an attempt by the U.S. government to define the baseline for what a clinician using EHR should be able to accomplish.” They also describe how Meaningful Use will be “at the heart of healthcare reform in the United States for the next several decades.”Before the creation of Meaningful Use requirements, the VA healthcare system accomplished most of the goals set in the three stages of Meaningful Use using its common integrated EHR system, coordinated and shared among all VA facilities around the world. Hospitals within the digitized VA system can deliver more services because their common digital records allow doctors and clinics to better-coordinate complex treatment regimens throughout the life of their patientsOpen API-driven FHIR redefines interoperability and integrationThere are more than 1000 certified EHR systems in production today, most of them proprietary. Developed over the last 20 years, these EHR systems have been — and are — supporting a number of HL7 standards including V2, V3 and CDA. However, these standards are complex and difficult to integrate. A broader and widely accepted, simple yet powerful standard was required to address the fast growing need for seamless information flow in the healthcare ecosystem. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is the new HL7 that is intended to address this gap and simplify health information exchange. FHIR considers implement-ability as its most fundamental precept. It defines a flexible framework for interoperability, and leverages open source development and common web technologies including HTTP, REST, XML and JSON and simplify healthcare information exchangeFHIR enables a granular way to exchange data by using RESTful style approach. FHIR solutions are built from a set of modular components called “Resources.” Data Access Framework (DAF) leverages HL7 FHIR, C-CDA and existing IHE standards to standardize access to Meaningful Use data located in EHR or in other systems of records.FHIR is simple, easy to understand, easy to implement and has wider applicability than all the standards that we had in Healthcare so far for integration and interoperability needs. FHIR is expected to help providers achieve meaningful use in a more efficient manner. FHIR and REST APIs are actually much beyond enabling interoperability; they are also expected to revolutionize healthcare ecosystem by fueling innovation and digital health and enabling creation of “smart apps.”An implementation approachAn important and major step in the FHIR and REST APIs implementation process to support HIE is the data mapping from the EHR and other systems of record. It’s important to select tools or implement generic and extensible mapping interfaces and avoid being locked in a proprietary or rigid framework in this step.FHIR is not a security protocol, and it does not define any security related functionality. OAuth is well recognized open standards for authentication and can be integrated to support security access to FHIR RESTful APIs.Figure 1, shows steps involved in implementing FHIR RESTful APIs based on DAF Profiles and OAuth for supporting Health Information Exchange.Armed with HL7 FHIR standards, DAF Profiles, RESTful APIs, and other open source technology, organizations can join an ecosystem that supports standard Health Information Exchange, adapts to the implementation of Meaningful Use, and facilitates the creation of clinical and smart apps.Figure 2: Health Information Exchange powered by FHIR, DAF standards and open source technologyA moving targetThe success of the VA healthcare model is the result of its continued focus on implementing efficiency in the delivery process and improving patient outcomes through coordination and the use of its integrated EHR system.Meeting Meaningful Use (MU) regulations requires digital innovation in data interoperability, security and accelerated time-to-value. MU is a moving target, and its requirements will keep evolving to improve medical care, reduce cost and create opportunities that can only be possible when healthcare providers, researchers, clinics and patients can share data easily. In his book The Creative Destruction of Medicine, How the digital revolution will create better healthcare Dr. Eric Topol describes how “Medicine is about to go through its biggest shakeup in history.” Dr. Topol lays out a vision for how technologies, including wireless sensors, genomics, imaging, health information systems, the Internet and social networks, will converge to create new, individualized medicine. MU will certainly evolve with this new individualized medicine. The integrated healthcare system will increasingly become a cornerstone of healthcare delivery transformation driven by information and digital technologies. To achieve a truly integrated healthcare, FHIR and open APIs are a critical next step.About the co-authorYoussef Serghat is a Solution Architect at Dell Digital Business Services. He has led and contributed to a number of enterprise and cloud integration solutions supporting customers in telecommunication, airline, e-commerce, aerospace and healthcare industries. He started his 20 years IT career when CORBA was the standard and the facto in enterprise integration and today he is using SOA, ESB, and APIs, to solve enterprise and cloud integration unique challenges. read more
Tomorrow, on April 19, over two thousand robotics teams comprised of well over 20,000 students will converge on the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, and the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.Both the FIRST® Robotics Championships and the Vex Robotics Championship include several days of competition across all grade levels, providing opportunities for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Both FIRST® and the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (host of the Vex Competition) have missions to inspire our next generation with respect to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And it works.Participation estimates for 2016/2017 for FIRST are astonishing—over 450,000 students on over 50,000 teams, over 100,000 mentors and adults in supporting roles, and more than 17 million volunteer hours!Studies of FIRST® students show they are over twice as likely to major in a science or engineering field in college, with fully one-third of female FIRST® students choosing to major in engineering.Youth Learning is one of the major focal points of Dell’s Legacy of Good, our commitment to use our technology, expertise and funding where it can do the most good for people and the planet. Programs that support STEM education for K-12 students, like FIRST Robotics and the Vex Robotics Competition, are a natural fit. Dell’s Charitable Giving team’s relationship with FIRST goes back more than five years while heritage EMC’s support of Vex Robotics started even earlier.The benefits to the students go beyond engineering skills. Studies show STEM programs improve general problem solving and time management skills, increase conflict resolution abilities, and strengthen communication skills.I mentioned careers, right? Well, we have FIRST alumni in our midst here at Dell—and two from the team I work with at Westlake High School here in Austin. Garrett Witowski and Keren Rempe were both inspired to consider technology careers by their experiences with FIRST Robotics.After graduating from Texas A&M University last year, Witowski started working in our server engineering organization.“My FIRST robotics experience taught me many valuable skills, such as how to work on a team toward a common goal and not being afraid to ask questions.Share“My FIRST robotics experience taught me many valuable skills, such as how to work on a team toward a common goal and not being afraid to ask questions. It also gave me early exposure to topics that weren’t covered until my senior year of college. Working alongside other engineers in my internships and now at Dell is a natural extension of my time with FIRST,” said Witowski, now a platform software engineer at Dell.Rempe, a graduate of Georgia Tech University, is now working in our global fulfillment organization.“Building a 100 pound robot for FIRST in under six weeks was the spark I needed to pursue a degree in engineering. I learned technical skills, like how to use a band saw and soft skills, such as presenting to FIRST judges,” said Rempe, now a senior analyst, logistics at Dell.Rempe adds, while she may not use a saw in her current role at Dell, her FIRST experience has definitely translated into her career. She is also encouraged to see how the FIRST program is motivating more girls to be interested in STEM, a focus area for Dell’s Youth Learning program too.Witowski and Rempe are the tip of the iceberg. I am certain there are more alumni and supporters in our midst. I suspect there are even more in college today who will be our future team members and leaders tomorrow.Seeing our participation grow alongside FIRST’s growth has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve been honored to be the Charity Ambassador for Dell’s work with FIRST Robotics since 2011.If you’re in Houston this weekend, come say “Hello.” I’ve signed up to volunteer as a Robot Inspector on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, I’ll be in the stands, cheering for my favorite teams and being inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of our next generation of leaders.Share your event photos and experience by tweeting us at @Dell4Good and @FIRSTTweets! read more
I continue to be inspired by the progress we’ve made at Dell Technologies and the opportunity we have to lead the industry towards change and driving human progress. While we have a long way to go to balance the workforce and our society, more can be done when we commit to taking action together.I look forward to continuing this important conversation, and I invite you to join it with me by following @womensday on Twitter and using the hashtags #IWD2019 and #BalanceforBetter. Today at Dell Technologies, we join the world to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD)! This global celebration is all about how we can collectively work together to recognize women’s achievements, raise awareness against issues like bias, and create a more gender-balanced world.Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive, which is why the theme of this year’s IWD is “Balance for Better.” When we invest in women, they invest in their communities. This presents an economic opportunity, as well as breaks existing barriers to put the wheels of cultural change in motion.At Dell Technologies, cultivating an inclusive culture is a top priority. We see underrepresentation as a critical issue, given job roles in technology are exponentially growing as we simultaneously face a severe talent shortage. By the year 2024, there will be 1.1 million technology-related job openings in the U.S.; however, the current candidate pool will only fill less than half of these jobs. Expanding the pipeline and bringing in traditionally underrepresented groups – including women – is critical for business and closing the future skills gap.Our collective efforts are our biggest opportunity for change. Many of our customers have also taken big steps to hire women, put more women in leadership roles and eliminate bias in their organizations. I am proud to say these collective efforts across the industry are paying off. Today, 20 percent of the Fortune 500 global CIOs are now women (according to Boardroom Insiders), compared to about 16 percent the year before. Hiring of women among top tech companies has also reached 34 percent, up from 29 percent the year before.While we’ve certainly made progress, let’s not forget – there is still much work to be done. According to IDC, 56 percent of women feel underrepresented in STEM fields. So, what can be done to make progress, bring in underrepresented groups and address the talent shortage?Here’s how we’re making #balanceforbetter real at Dell Technologies:Investing where it matters: Over the last five years, we’ve invested nearly $70 million in STEM.Focusing on breaking specific barriers: We’ve joined coalitions such as Reboot Representation which seeks to double the number of women of color graduating with computing degrees by 2025 and the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, which addresses key barriers to entry for underrepresented groups.Leveraging technology for progress: Our team is exploring ways to use artificial intelligence to eliminate personal bias from recruiting and hiring, ensuring we can fill unmet job requirements and create the best possible workforce.Having candid conversations to get to the root issues: Our Many Advocating for Real Change (MARC) training engages leaders in candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace, as well as topics such as unconscious bias, privilege and inclusive leadership. We have set a goal to have all 145,000 team members complete our MARC unconscious bias program by the end of 2020. read more