Dell creative partnering GenAI generative AI

Dell Technologies: Creative Partnering = GenAI Innovation

Vendors in technology and other industries are rightfully proud and protective of the inventions and intellectual property they develop in-house. But few, if any, companies can create all the pieces necessary for delivering creatively transformational commercial products. Instead, they typically depend on trusted partners and specialists for elemental ingredients.

In many cases, those partners work with multiple vendors, including close competitors, which some might consider problematic. However, another viewpoint is that these relationships offer vendors opportunities to highlight their own individual strengths and often unique capabilities. That is certainly true of Dell Technologies’ generative AI (GenAI)-focused partnerships with Hugging Face and Meta.

The importance of creative partnerships

Roger Martin, a globally recognized business management thinker, and C-level executive advisor, has noted that many organizations confuse “invention” with “innovation.” As Martin noted over a decade ago, it is not simply a matter of creating or discovering a new or unique thing. Instead, “Innovation is customer-driven, providing a new product or process that adds value to somebody’s life. Innovations improve economic or social well-being.”

What does that mean in practical terms? According to Martin, innovations are often built on inventions, but the value of innovation is in customer-driven capabilities, “Such as enabling consumers to do something that had been impossible or difficult, or (to do it) at a lower cost.” How, then, do creative partnerships contribute to innovations in high-tech and other industries? In many cases, they depend on vendors recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and blending their capabilities with partners’ complementary products and skills.

For example, Apple is often cited as the primary innovator of modern smartphones, but others were in the hunt for Internet-capable phones before it. It is true that the company’s designers made critical decisions about how the first iPhone’s revolutionary touchscreen display would function. However, Apple consulted with and eventually acquired Fingerworks, a gesture recognition pioneer whose products and IP were crucial to the iPhone’s capabilities.

How does this relate to Gen AI? While artificial intelligence has been in development for decades, computing hardware and software have finally become inexpensive and powerful enough to support cost-effective commercial solutions. Moreover, popular consumer-focused services, like ChatGPT have opened individuals and organizations to the potential value of GenAI technologies.

That said, few Tier 1 IT vendors have the large language models (LLMs) that are crucial for training commercial GenAI solutions. Instead, most are working with specialty firms, including Hugging Face, Meta (Llama 2) and OpenAI.

Dell Technologies’ GenAI partnerships

What are Dell’s recent announcements concerning GenAI? On October 4th, Dell announced the introduction of new GenAI-focused products and services. Since then,

  • On October 31st, Dell and Meta said they will make it easy for Dell customers to deploy Meta’s Llama 2 models on premises with Dell’s GenAI portfolio of IT infrastructure, client devices, and professional services. By simplifying GenAI deployment and management, Dell customers can accelerate their GenAI efforts on-premises in traditional data centers and at edge locations. Plus, Dell Validated Design for Generative AI with Meta’s Llama 2 offers customers pre-tested and proven Dell infrastructure, software, and services. Using that configuration guidance, organizations can get Dell GenAI infrastructures with Meta’s Llama 2 up and running faster and with more predictable results.
  • On November 14th, Dell said it is collaborating with Hugging Face to simplify enterprises’ creation, fine-tuning, and implementation of their own open-source generative GenAI models. The companies will create a new Dell portal on the Hugging Face platform. That will include custom, dedicated containers and scripts designed to help users easily and securely deploy open-source models available on Hugging Face with Dell servers and data storage systems. Over time, the portal will release updated containers with optimized models for Dell infrastructure, enhancing performance and support for new GenAI use cases and models.

Final analysis

What can we deduce from these announcements? First, Dell has chosen GenAI partners who are a good match. Over the past few months, Hugging Face has become a leading platform for open-source LLM creators and development and a key enabler for GenAI efforts among many of the world’s largest and most accomplished IT vendors. Meta’s GenAI efforts may not be as well-known as some others, but the company’s position, size, reach, and success make it a player worth watching. That is especially true for the scores of companies interested in Gen AI that already work with Meta in some capacity.

Additionally, both partnerships demonstrate that Dell is focusing intently on Roger Martin’s keys to innovation: to help people do something that had been impossible or difficult or to do it at a lower cost. In enterprise terms, simplicity, speed, and predictability can all be precursors to success and profitability. That is especially important with essentially new technologies and markets, including GenAI, which, despite its heightened profile and promises, is still evolving.

In other words, by working with trusted, creative, complementary partners like Hugging Face and Meta, Dell Technologies is helping to ensure both the innovation of its own GenAI solutions and services and the success of its enterprise customers.

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