Michael recently did an interview with Jim Citrin for his Leadership By Example column for Yahoo! Finance. In the Q&A, Michael talks about Dell's goal to simplify IT and how we're working with customers to define that strategy. Michael also touches on how risk tolerance is helping to shape future direction of the company.
In my view, that risk-taking mentality is one things that helped us get things like Direct2Dell, StudioDell and IdeaStorm off the ground.
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Patience "Pattie" Smith from Cypress California
On Jim Citrin’s “Dell Gets Back to Basics”, Michael Dell’s
reply to “What's the greatest single problem with IT today?” was “Simplifying
the way companies use information technology (IT).” Apparently, Dell is
emphatically paying more attention on value-added IT services. After all, the priority at Dell is to grow
solidly along with decent profits. To supplant HP as the world PC leader should
be one of Dell's priorities to serve this goal.
However, Simplifying IT complexity could be one of
approaches on IT services. Will it contribute the most for Dell? Does Dell
simply leverage the domain knowledge on leading-edge supply chain management?
Or the iPod model inspires to get back to basics? It will be an interesting argument.
IT Legacy: Existing Customers on Old
the IT infrastructure is extremely complicated in US. Try to imagine how the
technology evolves on both software and hardware in the past few decades. Most
of current investments are spent to enhance IT functions on top of previous
infrastructures that may require more patches to soothe the compatibility
issues. It consequently introduces more services on upgrade, maintenance,
integration, administration, and support under predictable time frames. The
so-called IT services create more solutions, which may evolve into possible future
nightmares, to bridge today’s technology with yesterday’s legacy with more
software investment. Later on, to integrate tomorrow’s innovation with today’s heritage
is for sure unless we can totally toss the IT legacy away.
legacy-burden perspective, IT simplification is a piece of good news. The
question is how Dell is going to simplify competitor-built legacies without
knowing associated core competencies, or how to effectively take the sizable
slice of the market pie from competitors.
the emerging market like China,
legacy issues should be a lot mitigated. For instance, the operating systems
should be well covered as long as you support both Windows and Linux in China
where simply utilizes any cutting-edge products with very limited technology
Non-legacy Services: Core Competencies + Simpler
any brand new services requiring latest technologies, the IT services will be
strongly bundled with application-specific solutions that unequivocally demands
suitable core technologies. To leverage core
competencies as competitive advantages is inevitable. The Chances favor
prepared minds that have systematically established the conventional wisdom to
possess broader core competencies. The modern mindset on simpler IT dynamically
adds values from hearing customers’ voices.
are some typical IT services associated with main players who do own core
aforementioned IT services fully leverage hardware platforms (PC, server, workstation)
along with their core competencies to deliver software integrated solutions.
For instance, IBM and HP are pretty good at data warehousing and data mining
associated with enterprise computing. IBM owns enormous IP portfolios on IC to
well integrate industry-specific vertical solutions such as SoC
(System-on-Chip) design services for data communication companies.
The fundamental mentality is to leverage up-to-date
technologies and management to deal with existing environments and to plan for
From market point of view, the catch of IT simplification
should have the different mentality to work with companies in US and China
respectively. In a nutshell, more legacies exist in the developed countries,
and less in developing regions.
From implementation standpoint, the basics of IT services
should reuse and share the well-established core competencies that should
contain IP, integration prowess, innovative logistics management, or
combination. IT simplification should be articulated during the architecture design
stage in the very early beginning.
Time to Make Changes
So far, it may not be completely
clear for what Dell’s simpler IT means. Or what is Dell’s IT service? But the
good news is that Dell is making a change, if necessary, to make the difference
As Michael Dell said "The
direct model has been a revolution, but it is not a religion”, the direct model
may not be a panacea for all regions in all times. The similar statement to
reassess the conventional IT services could be the same case. Of course, it
should be great to see Dell innovate another surprise in the near future.