As it has for past future-focused studies, Dell teamed up with the well-respected Institute for the Future (IFTF) to forecast how emerging technologies — notably artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) — may change the way we live and work by 2030.

To extend that work, Dell Technologies commissioned Vanson Bourne, an independent UK research firm, to conduct a survey-based research study to gauge business leader predictions and preparedness for the future. The Realizing 2030 survey was quite large and wide in scope and reach, extending to 17 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Japan, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Secondly, more than 10 industries including financial services, private healthcare and manufacturing were covered.

Finally, the survey had 3800 complete responses from director and c-suite executives in midsized and enterprise organizations involved in key functions, including finance, sales and R&D in addition to IT. That is an impressive number of respondents and thus should be considered statistically reliable across a number of dimensions.

The Realizing 2030 survey shows a deep division on many issues, but general agreement on others

On many questions, survey participants were divided into two evenly split camps. For example, on the question of whether or not automated systems will free-up our time, 50% agreed and 50% disagreed. Dell ascribes this polarization to oppositional perspectives about our future; a pessimistic anxiety-driven issue of human obsolescence and an optimistic view that technology will solve our greatest social problems.

Forecasts of where our lives would be impacted in 2030 was one of the areas where this dichotomy of opinion occurred, such as in how we will absorb and manage information in completely different ways. Forecasts of our work was another area, such as we’ll be more productive by collaborating more and we’ll have more job satisfaction by offloading the tasks that we don’t want to do to intelligent machines. A third area where the split occurred was in the business forecast for 2030, such as, the more we depend upon technology, the more we’ll have to lose in the event of a cyber -attack and we’ll be part of a globally connected, remote workforce.

Although the survey suggested that we are entering the next phase of human-machine partnerships, it also showed that our business leaders are clearly divided on what this means for them, their business and the world at large. They are also struggling with the pace of change as 42% don’t know whether they will be able to compete over the next decade. More importantly for IT vendors, a huge (93%) majority of respondents said that they’re battling some form of barrier to becoming a digital business. Lack of a digital vision and strategy (61%) and lack of workforce readiness (61%) are the two top challenges they cited to transforming digitally.

The good news for vendors is that despite those obstacles, business leaders are unified in the need for digital transformation. Top tips to accelerate digital transformation include gaining employee buy-in (90%) and making customer experience a boardroom concern (88%).  Other notable points included that in the next five years businesses plan to triple their investments in advanced AI. In addition, the number of companies investing in VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality) will go from 27% to 78%.

This piece has only touched upon the survey results. For more information, visit Dell Technologies at:

Dell Technologies’ pragmatic approach to Realize 2030 is through four transformations

Dell Technologies does not invest in survey-based research simply for the fun of it. No, the company is very pragmatic. The Realizing 2030 study complements and advances its knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to bring about a future where the company plays a prominent role. The research also helps Dell engage in an on-going and open dialogue with existing and potential customers and shows the depth of its creative and innovative thinking while simultaneously listening to what those companies have to say. In other words, the company strives for conversation that is a dynamic dialogue.

As part of that process, Dell Technologies can bring to the table its understanding and product/service focus on transforming areas of interest to every organization. The company’s goal is to put itself in the best position to act as the IT infrastructure company that best enables businesses to transform themselves across:

  • Workforce — leverage IT solutions to enhance employee productivity, such as through more mobility and more connectedness
  • Digital — deploy innovative technologies to further the human-machine partnership, such as AI and VR/AR as appropriate
  • IT — build a highly scalable infrastructure that uses a software-defined architecture to change/adjust pools of hardware assets dynamically as needs change
  • Security — build a security infrastructure that is resilient, adaptable and unified.

Successful transformations will impact all four areas since they are interwoven, not linear.

Mesabi musings

Dell Technologies should be commended for its sponsorship of the Realizing 2030 research as well as its opening up an ongoing dialogue with customers about the results. Although the survey shows that business leaders are deeply divided into pessimistic and optimistic camps regarding the impact of future technology on our life, work, and business, they are united on the need to move forward. The future may not be “ours to see,” but business leaders don’t plan to stand idly by without trying to transform their organizations for the better. And that is a good thing.