FRIBOURG NETWORK FREIBURG
“EVERYTHING’S IN PLACE”
Jacques Boschung had an insider view of the largest merger-acquisition ever seen in the high-tech sector. Originally from Fribourg, Boschung is now Senior Vice President of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Global Alliances and Telco at Dell EMC. The latter was created when the IT behemoth Dell bought the specialist data storage company EMC for 67 billion US dollars. With a global workforce of 150,000, the new corporation has an annual turnover of CHF 74 billion, giving it the second highest share of the worldwide digital market, just behind IBM (80 billions), and ahead of Hewlett Packard (51 billion), Cisco Systems (49 billion) and Lenovo (42 billion).
In this era of digital transformation, what does the future look like for a group such as Dell Technologies?
The market is changing, with many IT operations being transferred from private customers to cloud providers. Companies are outsourcing all their infrastructure to the cloud or using cloud applications to manage their customers. In this environment, Dell sees itself as the hardware and software outfitter of choice for corporate customers and cloud operators. We are therefore perfectly placed to win over segments of the digital market that have high growth potential.
Are we really witnessing a digital revolution?
Absolutely! The revolution currently under way knows no bounds. Since the first transistors (ed.: key components of electronic devices and logic circuits) were invented nearly 60 years ago, computing power has doubled every 18 months. This is the famous “Moore’s Law”, put forward in 1965 by engineer Gordon Moore, one of the Co-founders of Intel. However, we need to frame it in relation to what some refer to as the “second half of the chessboard”.
Can you explain what you mean?
According to an Indian legend, the inventor of chess presented his game to the Sultan, who was mightily impressed and asked him what reward he would like. The inventor declared: one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third and so on. By the time they reached the second half of the chessboard, the numbers were totally astronomical. In 2008, I claimed that we had now reached the second half of the chessboard. Moore’s Law still applies, but the curve has become exponential. This revolution has come about because of the possibilities offered by this computing power and the storage capacity that is now available to us. The successive emergence of smartphones, social networks, big data and the cloud have completely transformed consumption practices and patterns.
What is trending now?
The Internet of Things is soaring. From Boeing 747 turbines to a ski jackets, over 200 billion objects will be connected by 2030. Industry and the economy as a whole are of course concerned by this connectivity. The sharing economy has yet to exploit its full potential. We will increasingly pay for services rather than objects. Personalization will reach dizzying heights. Certain business models will disappear. Take automobiles for example, the average usage rate of which is no more than 2%. The 2000 billion dollars that this industry is worth are seriously underutilized! Ultimately, our highways will teem with driverless cars that we will hire from companies like Uber according to terms that have yet to be defined.
What about artificial intelligence?
It seems like everyone is talking about it now! We shouldn’t forget that artificial intelligence languages have been around since the 1970s but computers weren’t powerful enough back then to leverage them. Today, the advances that have been made threaten certain jobs with high value added such as legal experts and doctors. AI is starting to touch on areas that until now were an exclusively human preserve.
Can we expect massive unemployment?
I can’t really answer that. Change is coming and certain types of jobs will disappear while others – which we are still beyond our ken – will emerge. Thanks to the development of 3D printing, digitization brings with it the great hope, namely the return of industrial production to the West.
As a champion of innovation, has Switzerland more to lose or to gain from digitization?
It certainly has more to gain than other countries. Our flexible and efficient labor market is a major safeguard. We also benefit from an education system that is unique in the world, capable of adapting to the changing needs of the labor market. Everything’s in place in Switzerland, and in the canton of Fribourg, to successfully ride this digital wave.