Dell Technologies: driving diversity in tech
Gigabit Magazine sits down with Dayne Turbitt, Senior Vice President at Dell Technologies to explore the software giant’s ongoing efforts to promote equality and diversity in the technology space.
How important is diversity and inclusion to Dell Technologies? How high is it on the corporate agenda?
At Dell Technologies, cultivating a culture of inclusion is a business imperative. We know that preparing and attracting the future workforce, developing and retaining an empowered workforce and then scaling for maximum impact is vital. We embrace difference because it drives innovation for our customers.
A diverse and inclusive environment ensures that Dell is a place where people want to work, team members feel they belong and our values reflect those of our customers. Put simply, creating a diverse and inclusive culture is key to how we will unlock our innovative spirit, so we continue to grow our business and ensure success, both today and in the future.
Michael Dell chairs our Global Diversity Council, providing direction, support and strategic oversight so that diversity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of everything we do.
Could you tell me about Dell Technologies Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and how they help to promote inclusion?
Our Employee Resource Groups are communities that have been created for team members with common interests or backgrounds to bring their collective voices together to drive business impact. Our ERGs are one way we demonstrate our company-wide commitment to creating an inclusive culture, which also gives our team members an opportunity to be involved in driving personal and professional development through mentoring, volunteerism, networking, leadership development and community involvement. We currently have 13 Employee Resource Groups worldwide, including GenNext, Women in Action, True Ability, Mosaic and Pride.
Could you tell me about how Dell’s senior leadership are championing inclusion from the top-down? For instance, could you tell me about the Many Advocating Real Change (MARC) programme?
Dell is a company built on a foundation of strong ethics. We know that recruiting diverse talent is a great first step, but then we need to develop our talent and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to do their best work. We are championing diversity from a top down process by investing in our employees directly through ERGs and supporting a flexible work environment. These are all building blocks for a more diverse and inclusive culture but to truly address the challenges tech faces, we must address the fundamental issue of human bias. We all have biases – conscious and unconscious – that affect how we view the world. It’s important we become aware of those biases and how they could play out in the work environment.
We were the first in our industry to roll out unconscious bias foundational learning to educate our team on what can unintentionally harm work culture and performance. We have already trained 10,000+ employees through our initiative, Many Advocating for Real Change. 100% of our leaders have gone through the programme and our goal is to have 100% of all team members participate by end of 2020.
Does Dell Technologies have any specific diversity goals or targets in the pipeline? If so, why?
As I mentioned earlier, a diverse and inclusive environment ensures that Dell is a place people want to work. We are continuing to challenge our business and employees to create a diverse culture, and constantly setting internal goals with a view to closing the diversity gap. This is critical to meeting future talent needs and for reflecting new perspectives of a global customer base. There’s a talent shortage coming that affects us and our customers. Expanding our talent pipeline and bringing in traditionally underrepresented groups is critical for our business.
What has been the outcome of these diversity and inclusion initiatives? How have they helped the business and its operations?
According to a global study by Accenture, 63% of consumers prefer to purchase from purpose-driven brands and this is no different with our customers. They are drawn to brands that are committed to treating employees well, reducing plastics and improving the environment and ensuring a drive for diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
As a result of our D&I initiatives, we have pushed the boundaries of our innovation and achieved more impact than we ever imagined. We are proud of the programmes drive, especially those that engage underrepresented groups in STEM related subjects. We extend these efforts to engage and empower groups at the university level and into the workplace with the hopes that these students will join Dell or become technology leaders for our customers.
I believe this is one of the reasons we were recognised by LinkedIn as a 2019 Top Company, by FairyGodBoss as a Top 10 Tech Company according to women working at Dell Technologies, by the Human Rights Campaign's 2019 Corporate Equality Index as one of the best places to work for LGBTQ Equality (15 consecutive years) and by Ethisphere Institute as a World's Most Ethical Company (six consecutive years).
How could technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) help to tackle unconscious biases? Is this an area that Dell Technologies is exploring?
One of our key focus areas as we look towards 2030 is tackling unconscious bias. We see tremendous opportunity to use technology to eliminate personal bias from how we recruit, to how we hire and promote, ensuring we can fill unmet job requirements and create the best possible workforce.
We are currently exploring machine learning and the ethics behind leveraging AI technologies for this type of application. It’s crucial to understand what we need to make this successful. There have been several cases where algorithms have demonstrated bias against women and minorities, such as image recognition systems failing to identify non-white faces, which is why we are working with our partners to facilitate a better approach moving forward.
Is Cloud Computing Environmentally Friendly?
Cloud adoption was well underway before the coronavirus pandemic hit but it has definitely accelerated more organisations to make a move.
Research from NetApp has found that a large majority of users (86%) felt the cloud has become essential to their business and many of them saw it as playing a greater role in their storage strategies. Some 87% viewed storing data in the cloud as easier than other methods.
Flexera, revealed that almost all organisations are using at least one cloud with 99% of respondents saying they are using at least one public or private cloud. 97% of respondents utilise at least one public cloud, while 80% have at least one private cloud. 78% of respondents are using hybrid cloud.
By pursuing a green approach, Accenture analysis suggests migrations to the public cloud can reduce global carbon (CO2) emissions by 59 million tons of CO2 per year. This represents a 5.9% reduction in total IT emissions and equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.
A greener cloud
Selecting a carbon-thoughtful provider is the first step towards a sustainable cloud-first journey. Cloud providers set different corporate commitments towards sustainability, which in turn determine how they plan, build, power, operate, and retire their data centres.
The Google Cloud platform has committed to operating its data centres carbon-free 24/7 by 2030, rather than rely on annual direct energy matches. In 2020, Google became the first company to achieve a zero lifetime net carbon footprint, meaning the company has eliminated its entire legacy operational carbon emissions. According to Google, their data centers are twice as energy-efficient as a typical data centre, and they now deliver seven times more computing power for the same amount of electrical power than they did six years ago.
Microsoft has committed to shifting its data centres to 100% supply of renewable energy by 2025 through power purchase agreements (PPAs). The company has launched its ambition to be carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 to remove all carbon emitted by the company since 1975. Microsoft Azure’s customers can access a carbon calculator that tracks emissions associated with their own workload on the cloud.
A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the continued adoption of cloud computing could prevent the emission of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 2021 through 2024.
"The idea of 'green IT' has been around now for years, but the direct impact of hyperscale computing can have on CO2 emissions is getting increased notice from customers, regulators, and investors and it's starting to factor into buying decisions," said Cushing Anderson, programme vice president at IDC. "For some, going 'carbon neutral' will be achieved using carbon offsets, but designing datacentres from the ground up to be carbon neutral will be the real measure of contribution. And for advanced cloud providers, matching workloads with renewable energy availability will further accelerate their sustainability goals."
Accenture analysis shows that customising applications to be cloud-native can stretch carbon emission reduction to 98%. Customisation requires designing applications to take full advantage of on-demand computing, higher asset utilisation rates, and dynamic allocation of computing resources. Cloud computing is also a way of reducing the use of resources such as paper, electricity, packing materials, and much more.
For companies striving to cut carbon emissions and to become more sustainable, cloud computing is definitely an option. Taking the steps to choose the right providers and making the businesses more efficient is key to having the wanted end result.