Some of the biggest tech industry CEOs in the world expect an uncertain economy in 2023 and are banking on new financial models and innovation, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to meet the biggest challenges their customers will face this year.
“Technology has never been more central to the world, and we are at the center of the technology ecosystem. It is exhilarating,” said Michael Dell, Dell Technologies founder and CEO, in CRN’s 2023 CEO Outlook special report.
CRN asked the CEOs from AMD, Cisco, Dell, Intel and VMware what they saw as the toughest challenges facing customers in 2023 and how they plan to help, as well as where their largest investment areas will be this year.
Uncertain 2023 Economy
All five CEOs: Cisco’s Chuck Robbins, AMD’s Lisa Su, Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s Raghu Raghuram and Michael Dell; acknowledged that customers are facing an uncertain economy on a global scale. As millions of their customers face an uncertain macroeconomy in 2023—whether due to inflation, a potential recession or geopolitical concerns—these CEOs see massive opportunities for the IT industry to help customers transform.
“With the many technology trends coming to the forefront, there is massive opportunity ahead and it’s ours to capture,” said Cisco CEO Robbins. “Technology will continue to be an integral part of our lives and our customers’ strategies, and our teams remain focused on building the technology we know will be needed to power an inclusive future for all.”
CEO: Dr. Lisa Su
CEO Dr. Lisa Su said AMD’s biggest customer challenge in 2023 is based around the “macro-economic uncertainties” as “many customers” are doing scenario planning this year.
Su said AMD’s goal in 2023 is to help customers use technology to deliver new capabilities and services to enable “more efficient operations through optimized CapEx and OpEx” budgets.
“In an uncertain macro backdrop, we believe that investments in the right technology, whether in the data center or in client environments, can be a significant business differentiator,” she said.
In terms of key technology investments to meet these challenges head-on, Su said AMD will be making significant investments in artificial intelligence (AI) in 2023.
“We are at an inflection point for AI and we are now seeing adoption across a broad set of applications and workloads, with AI often working behind the scenes to make computing even more powerful and data even more actionable,” Su said. “We’re continuing to build AI capabilities across our product roadmaps, starting with integrating the industry’s highest performance dedicated AI processor in our latest generation Ryzen 7040 series.”
CEO: Chuck Robbins
Customer challenges this year that are top-of-mind for Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins includes supply chain and component shortages as well as geopolitical uncertainty.
“In short, we now live in a world that is predictably unpredictable,” said Robbins. “Challenges with supply chain and components shortages, the war in Ukraine, an increasingly dynamic geopolitical and economic environment, and the ongoing pandemic are the types of issues leaders probably never imagined dealing with.”
Robbins said Cisco will focus this year on collaborating closely with its partners to serve their customers “no matter what lies ahead.”
In terms of investments in 2023 to meet these challenges, Cisco will focus on “leading in security” as cybersecurity is on every customers mind.
“Our teams are intensely focused on building best-in-class security products and services with a platform that unifies our portfolio,” said Robbins. “We have built a strong foundation to capture this massive opportunity, rebooting our strategy and resetting our operating model to deliver on the vision of the Cisco Security Cloud.”
CEO: Michael Dell
Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell says the big challenge in 2023 is enabling customers financial flexibility during an uncertain global economy.
Specifically, Dell will push customers to more extensively leverage its Dell Financial Services arm this year.
“Technology remains central to driving productivity and progress, and our flexible payment solutions offered through Dell Financial Services help partners and customers acquire technology with lower upfront costs,” said Dell. “We know that in times of uncertainty, customers and partners turn to the organizations they trust.”
Dell Technologies will focus investments around driving its as-a-service offerings, Dell Apex, to drive deals via channel partners including on the cloud and cybersecurity fronts.
“We’re focused on growing and modernizing our core businesses, winning the edge and leading with Dell Apex, from the way we sell and deliver solutions to how we support partners and customers,” said Michael Dell. “Our partners are critical to our success, which is why an omni-channel business model with a robust partner ecosystem is at the core of our strategy.”