The proportion of women going into technical roles is actually on the decline, he said. “When I did engineering studies, 22 percent of my class at French engineering school were women. Twenty years later it's only 12 percent,” Reboud told ComputerworldUK in an interview.
“We need to continue to engage - especially men - on those diversity questions. Within Dell I promote the MARC programme: Men Advocating Real Change. It's about getting men to realise there is another point of view, other ways to look at things,” he added.
Given the majority of technology students are male, one solution may be to broaden the pool of people recruited for tech roles. Instead of only appointing those who already have technical skills, companies should be more open minded about the sorts of people they take on and train, Reboud suggested.
On the Dell EMC merger
Reboud defended the recent $67 billion merger of Dell and EMC, which finally completed last month. Can this new mega-IT firm succeed in a world where IT companies are splitting or downscaling (see HP, for example)?
“This is one of the first times in the IT service industry we see something that complimentary. In terms of products and customer segmentation, there is very little overlap...overall we in the services divison have 60,000 people now, that's given us complete capability across 165 countries to deliver something consistent, cost effective and top of the market. I think it's an unmatched power to deliver,” he said.
However with any merger of this size, job losses always follow. Dell EMC recently announced 50 jobs were to be cut in its office in Cork. A small sum, but surely a sign of things to come?
“There are 140,000 people altogether. There will be a very small amount [of redundancies] in the order of magnitude compared to the global picture. We treat all our staff with a lot of respect,” Reboud said.
Dell EMC still sees most of its customers pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy rather than going 'all in' on public cloud, according to Reboud.
“It isn't a silver bullet. People say cloud is the answer but it's more about how to leverage cloud in the specific environment of that particular customer,” he said.
One particular bugbear for Reboud is hearing constant “buzzword” references to Uber, Airbnb and Spotify at enterprise IT events to demonstrate the power of cloud technology.
He explained: “For them it's obvious they'll be fully cloud. It's different. They are born in the digital industry, they're digitally native companies. They have no legacy, nothing, they have avoided it.
“However for our customers, they have to take care of legacy. They know cloud is part of the answer but the question is how they integrate that with legacy, move part of that into the cloud and create this hybrid.”