The spotlight was placed on fluctuating budgets, cloud computing, big data and the rapidly evolving IT landscape in general, all placed under the heading of 'Seize the Moment: Transform, Innovate, and Collaborate'.
"This week is about delivering knowledge," said Basil Ayass, Enterprise Product Manager at Dell. "What we're here to do is to talk with the region's CIOs and explain what we see happening in the IT industry; discussing the trends and what's happening on the ground."
Whilst there is an abundance of American and European focused advisory content online, this particular gathering catered for the Middle East, addressing opportunities and challenges. Ayass discussed key issues with AMEinfo.
"We're discussing convergence," he said, "which is a very controversial idea. Some customers have always worked in IT in a very complex way, going into any datacentre and working with several vendors, selecting 'best in breed' technologies."
Previously, customers purchased the best products and services from a range of providers. Seeking out the best suppliers for storage and servers does of course seem sensible, but can create a great deal of complexity.
"Now there's a shift in IT where customers are requesting simplicity. That's being addressed by companies like Dell spending billions of dollars building an end to end solution," said Ayass.
"We can now offer server, storage, networking, virtualization, cloud, software, services. You don't have to shop around and work with many different companies and make them work together," he explained. "We've integrated them into Dell and now offer our customers a one-stop shop."
End to end solutions also eradicate the blame game, where previously vendors may have pointed the finger at each other when it came to responsibility for troubleshooting and maintenance.
Dell has made 24 acquisitions in the last three years, enabling their end to end solution to exist. Big names include security provider SonicWALL, the world's largest thin client provider Wyse, to facilitate cloud computing, and Force10 - a leader in high-speed networking.
Human capital a key challenge
The key challenge highlighted from day one was the lack of human capital in regards to IT talent. Businesses may be ready to adapt to cloud computing, but expertise are too sparse for enterprises to adapt quickly and remain agile. Another associated issue is retaining valuable human resources after lengthy and expensive training initiatives.
Partially as a result of this, and in an effort to evolve after sales support, Dell is now offering direct, round the clock assistance. Despite the tech giant working through resellers in the Middle East market, they are now offering toll free numbers so that buyers have direct access to technical support.
Many customers are too cynical to approach anyone but the manufacturer. There is a perception that the channel is focused solely on sales, according to Ayass. These toll free numbers for support now exist in Saudi Arabia, Egypt the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.
The talent issue is of course coupled with the fact that firms have limited budgets, and IT departments are expected to achieve more. But this appears to be changing - so how are CIOs expected to slice the pie?
"Budgets have been tight. Every year IDC asks firms what is happening with IT budgets, but this year is the first time in many years that the number is increasing. So this gives our customers greater choice," explained Ayass.
Dell invites customers to take stock of their inventory and seek out what needs bolstering - a process that works standardisation, virtualisation, convergence, private and then public cloud that covers a five to 10 year project plan. Ayass adds that customers do not of course have to opt for Dell for IT nee