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Bobcats And Bursting Bladders At EMC World

One thing really leapt out at me during my trip to EMC World this week (and I don't mean the bobcat that I came within an inch of flattening whilst hurtling round the grounds of my hotel on a bike!). Cooped up in the cavernous Orange County Convention Centerwith 8,000 users, journos, and sundry propeller-heads, I was struck by the sheer scale of EMC.

With size comes complexity, something reflected in EMC World itself, which now combines Documentum's Momentum show and a massive Software Developer Conference. The lines for the bathrooms were reminiscent of my recent trip to Shea stadium, albeit minus the stench of hotdogs and Yankees-baiting!

With EMC now planning major initiatives around document management and security, could there be a risk that the vendor will lose sight of its core storage business? 

One EMC World attendee described the situation to me thusly: "EMC has to determine what it wants to be, whether they want to be a platform company, a solutions company, or a services company." Now, the prospect of EMC morphing into a technology behemoth exactly in the mold of IBM is unlikely, although CEO Joe Tucci nonetheless has his work cut out.

On the one hand, the New Yorker has to ensure that EMC is nimble enough to exploit new business opportunities at a time when many users are reining in their storage spending. On the other, EMC must be careful not to alienate the CIOs and IT managers that have traditionally bought (and will continue to buy) its storage products.

The CEO has already vowed that he wants to create One EMC, pulling together the firm's myriad of acquired technologies into a single, cohesive unit. The broader challenge for Tucci once this is achieved is ensuring that EMC does not get pulled in too many directions at once.

Like the bobcat I encountered Monday night, agility and stealth are the keys to survival in a rapidly changing landscape.

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