Dell CEO focused on reinventing company
Dec 12, 2012 (Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Michael Dell continues to reinvent his technology company -- and he's reinventing his top management team along with it.
The Dell Inc. founder and CEO told a gathering of industry analysts at the Dell World technology show that his company continues to move away from being simply an ingredients maker and move toward being a provider of end-to-end solutions to solve a range of complex information technology problems.
The answer to those problems will come from Dell's offerings in advanced systems, services and software, Dell said. The company will continue to make acquisitions in those areas and it will invest more research and development in its existing businesses.
The company is moving from being in the high-tech "ingredients business" to being a full-scale business solutions provider, its CEO said.
"Dell as a company had a rather rapid rise doing one thing (making personal computers) that people could understand in a straight-forward way," he said. "And now we have a broad set of capabilities. The challenge for us is how do we bring all the pieces together and change the conversation with our customers from (selling) ingredients to solving larger problems."
That answer, he said, will involve finding new ways to bring together the company's hardware products with advanced software and services.
And to help him do it, Dell has a very different senior executive team from a year ago. On stage with Dell at the Austin Convention Center were John Swainson, the president of Dell Software, who joined the company in February; Marius Haas, who became president of Dell's enterprise systems business in September; and Suresh Vaswani, who was named to replace Steve Schuckenbrock as head of Dell Services just last week. Swainson is a longtime former IBM executive, Haas formerly was at industry rival Hewlett-Packard Co. and Vaswani is a former executive with WiproTechnologies, a large Indian information technology company.
Those aren't the only changes. Darren Thomasstepped down as general manager of Dell's data storage business last week without an immediate replacement.
Analysts said those changes are not surprising, given the computer maker's falling revenue and profits this year in the face of a global personal computer slump.
"If we look at Dell's comings and goings over the years, typically they are tied to executives not performing as well as the company expected, or people just burning out and needing a break," said analyst Patrick Moorhead with Moor Insights & Strategies. "Dell is a place where high levels of accountability are demanded. This is what you get in that environment, especially when the stock is going down because they are not making their numbers."
The company wants more growth from sales of advanced systems, software and services to large and mid-sized businesses. That operation accounts for about a third of Dell's revenue, but more than half of its profits so far this year.
Company executives said they are optimistic about future growth for the personal computer business, despite the industrywide slump going on this year.
Dell will offer a variety of touch-based tablet devices and other touch-based products based on Microsoft's new Windows 8 software. Dell said it can offer improved security and "manageability" to mobile devices to make them easier for corporations to let them tie into their business networks.
While Dell has active plans to sell more tablets, Swainson told reporters he doesn't expect the company to make a new foray into smartphones. Dell, he said, has decided that the economics of building smartphones don't work without substantial subsidies from major cellphone carriers.
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