EMC World 2011: Q&A, Adrian McDonald, president of EMEA North

In his first interview with the UK press since his promotion, Adrian McDonald, who head up EMC's interests in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) North, hints at plans for the Silicon Roundabout as well as new directions for the company.

Many people in the market look at the pros and the cons of that and they see there are many, many pros to working with the best of breed. For us, particularly alongside some of our key partners, we are the best of breed around cloud-enabled infrastructure, to some extent around cloud enabled applications and other key subjects like mobility in the cloud. We have significant parts to play.

We used to be a company defined by storage.

You talked about a more encompassing move in the datacentre and EMC recently announced Project Lightning. How do your partners feel about you broadening your remit and how broad are you going to go?

You would have to ask Joe to get the most accurate answer. We, on an annual basis, spend $1-1.5 billion on research and development. We also have an acquisition budget which is normally in the $2-3 billion range. Between the two, we are investing $4-5 billion a year and, if you look at our ambitions, we stated to the market we would add another $10 billion in sales in the next four years. We are a $17 billion company today and have stated we will be a $27 billion company by 2014.

We are implying that our growth rates won't dip below 22 per cent going forward. We believe the opportunity is excellent and that our position is not matched.

With so much money for acquisitions and such goals, will you move into markets you are not playing at the moment?

Yes. There are two schools of thought. If you see us buying more application companies then we are clearly going in a different direction, or an additional direction. If you see us buying more companies that work around the challenge of how to automate the management of information going forward from a software perspective, then we are keeping in the same line of development as before.

We believe the average customer is adding 56 per cent more information every year. Their challenges [are] around how they manage that, keep the costs down and keep agility in the business going forward. No one else is getting to that market in the way that EMC is.

It is probably the fastest growing market in IT as we speak, so to dilute the business in a way to invest outside of that in the current school of thought... As I said, Joe would be the best person to talk to.

The adjacencies are important [though].

How does Europe, and the UK specifically, compare to EMC's core US market?

The UK is a shining star for EMC, as it can be for a number of companies. We have done exceptionally well there. We grow above trend growth and in my tenure, we have always been significantly above EMC's trend growth. We have expanded immensely when I joined we had something like 600 employees in the UK, we now have 1,700 1,800 and [are] expanding quickly.

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