I spent much of last week at EMC’s Analyst Summit. EMC fascinates me because the firm is really very different than others in this space. Long before anyone else did they shifted from a focus on self-serving customer satisfaction scores (which really don’t mean much) to Net Promoter Scores which, when done properly reflect customer advocacy and they reflect that advocacy at every event. Companies like Apple and USAA have the highest NPS rank and both are held in extremely high esteem by their customers.
This year they were the first to start showcasing Great Place to Work scores. Having watched one of their largest competitors bleed showcase executives over the last year I think they are ahead of the game in this regard as well. Coincidently I had one of DreamWorks executives on my panel at the Jon Peddie Virtualize Conference last week and he spoke about the future he hoped would come to pass. Basically describing what EMC’s VCE unit can provide today allowing me to close my panel with the statement that “the future is here, you just have to open your eyes and see it”. He didn’t believe me. But it got me thinking that any company that provides a product or service that is unbelievably good can only be described as “magical”. Let’ me explain what makes EMC magical.
EMC started a trend with NPS and now virtually every major vendor has implemented this as a metric however EMC has been doing it longer and it is far more deeply integrated into their employee review process. You can visibly see the result at any EMC analyst event for instance at their latest Summit every session started with an explanation of the technology and ended with an EMC customer explaining how this technology had changed their business.
One of the most powerful was on EMC’s VCE unit where the CIO of a large Pharma company concluded that when his new CEO came on board, thanks to VCE, the only organization that didn’t get personal attention was IT because every other executive indicated it was the only group running perfectly.
On Viper, EMC’s virtualized storage appliance, the CIO on stage when through each vendor trial naming EMC’s competitors and sharing where each fell short. To do his private cloud and meet his customers’ expectations there was only one product and it was EMC’s.
This showcases the power of focusing on building products and services that make customers into heroes in their respective companies these customers tell stores that have you walking away wondering why anyone would buy from any other company.
Great Place To Work
When we are shopping for a car one of the first questions my wife asks the sales person is how long he or she has worked there. If it is short and it looks like there is a lot of turnover we don’t buy from that dealer because there is a good chance anything we are promised won’t come to pass, they just be there long enough to carry through.
In technology companies the turnover can be incredible and the focus on making financial analysts happy has led to some firms doing more layoffs then they have quarters every year. It often seems like the technology industry is awash with CEOs who treat employees as indentured servants.
In sharp contrast EMC has implemented a Great Place to Work policy and measures itself against 2,800 other companies currently ranking in at 18. This means their employees more likely want to stay at EMC and won’t be leaving for greener pastures. Having recently watched one of the rare EMC departures get booted into a corner office with a window (stripped of responsibility) at one of EMC’s competitors I can see why most of the folks I’ve come to know at the company over the last 5 years are still there, because it is better than any of the alternatives and folks like Joe Tucci actually care about their people.
Keeping employees, particularly executives, in place is critical to anyone spending millions on IT technology because you want to make sure these folks have your back and they can’t if they depart the firm. You can’t trust a company with an unstable work force simply because promises rarely transcend people.
Wrapping Up: DreamWorks
Being focused on excelling at creating customer advocates and keeping great people makes EMC uniquely capable in what is a very complex and risky market. This was made evident last week while I moderated a panel at the Jon Peddie Virtualize Conference. I had a DreamWorks executive on my panel and I’ve attended several of their premiers as a guest of one of EMC’s competitors. DreamWorks creates some amazing animation properties using unique and cutting edge techniques.
The panel, which was focused on the Future of Virtualization, closed with each person sharing what their vision of the future 5 to 10 years out would be. The DreamWorks executive spoke to a future where performance could be dynamically allocated to his animators as needed on an enterprise scale. Strangely I had spoken with a massive multi-national cloud service provider who had flipped to VCE’s Vblock architecture nearly half a year ago and he spoke of one of DreamWorks competitors and how they had a similar wish, thing was they didn’t want it in some future vision they wanted it immediately.
So he gave it a shot and was dumfounded that he could support massive rendering loads assigned dynamically while continuing to support his other radically different customers. I shared this with the DreamWorks executive but it was clear he didn’t believe me which was what every VCE customer has testified to, that their biggest implementation problem is that folks don’t believe the solution can work as advertised yet it always has. So DreamWorks could have their vision 5 to 10 years early but they, or at least the executive on stage with me, simply didn’t believe it existed yet even though it clearly does at EMC.
In the end this is what makes EMC different they deliver solutions that are unbelievable yet they work so well that customers want to share their amazing experiences. Isn’t that the definition of magic, making something unbelievable happen? That’s the Magic of EMC.