Today we announced results of Dell-commissioned research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in London that shows unmistakably what we hear from customers: Managers in the world's fast-growing emerging economies place a very high value on information and communications technology (ICT), in particular on how it benefits operating efficiency. However, those same customers are seeing obstacles to their ability to get and use technology most effectively-the high cost of equipment and services, skills shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructures, and a lack of central government strategies for ICT.
The Dell/EIU research involved 537 senior-level business executives and managers in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the BRIC countries; UAE and five other Gulf nations; Mexico; South Africa; and Vietnam. The survey focused on four areas of ICT: impact, barriers to use, skills and training, and policy factors. Key findings include:
· Among companies which have been unable to obtain the technology they need, 41 percent of respondents say high cost has been the primary obstacle,
· 45 percent cite insufficient national and local telecommunications and Internet infrastructures as hindrances to better ICT use, and
· 36 percent of those surveyed believe a lack of adequate technology skills among their employees prevents them from applying ICT most effectively.
Customers across Asia-Pacific and Japan and in other countries are telling me those same things. Because of the interaction we have with customers every day, I think Dell has recognized those issues earlier and more specifically than competitors-and is addressing them best. Customers are benefiting from that foresight. So is Dell, through growth in emerging countries at rates much faster than the rest of the industry.
For example, we're developing robust, reliable and more affordable products and services that are simple to manage and implement. The latest example was our August introduction of new Vostro products-two laptops and two desktops-designed especially to meet the needs of small businesses in these emerging countries. It won't be the last example.
We also today rolled out a new program called Dell YouthConnect that, over time, will help enhance ICT skills in emerging countries. By 2010 we will be donating 1 percent of our pre-tax profits to organizations in places where Dell has a presence that promote IT skills training-along with math, science and literacy-for young people up to 17.
More immediately, we're helping commercial customers overcome the skills obstacle by adding to and expanding availability of our ProSupport services in emerging countries, providing them easier access to high-quality, reliable and flexible support.
To find out more about the EIU research and what Dell is doing, including Michael Dell's comments at The Economist's Emerging Markets Summit in London, click here.
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I think the companies that will make it through the next 50 years are the ones that recognize that there are 6 billion people in the world and less than a sixth of those are in the western countries where they are most comfortable doing business. Dell has to find a business model that will allow it to service the emerging market countries especially those that have a high population. Focus on BRIC is good, but focus on BRINC (Brail, Russia, India, NIGERIA & China) is smart. Ignoring the country with the largest population in Africa, a high literacy rate & a re-emerging middle class that is young and hungry for the consumer goods will be a misstep for Dell.