Dell's enterprise strategy: 'We don't have to build it all'

I enjoyed a quick conversation with Dell's Executive Director of Enterprise Strategy at Dell World 2014 last week. It was rather refreshing to speak with an executive that was willing to admit that the company is focused on helping customers solve problems rather than building every piece of that solution itself.

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While at Dell World 2014, I had the opportunity to speak with Matt Baker, Executive Director of Dell's Enterprise Strategy. The following bullets summarize our rather short conversation:

  • Dell feels that it is responsible for helping customers with workable, supportable computing solutions. This doesn't mean building every piece of that solution itself.
  • Why build an operating system when products from Dell's partners — such as Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE and others — will solve customers' problems? Dell does, however, offer expertise and professional services to make these tools work for its customers.
  • The same is true of database software. Dell works with nearly every major and many smaller suppliers of database technology and offers its customers expertise and professional services to put those tools to work.
  • Dell does, on the other hand, offer cost effective, very competitive industry standard servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, printing, imaging and storage solutions. 
  • Dell understands that IT departments feel swamped by the rapid pace of change in the industry. It is trying to put together solutions for Big Data and analytics, mobility, cloud computing, security and other selected solutions. It intends to make its solutions easy to purchase, easy to use and very cost effective. It understands that it can't be everywhere and do everything, so it will work with its partners to make solutions available all across the board.

What struck me as different from conversations with executives of other suppliers is Dell's focus on using industry standard pieces. The company, at this point in time, doesn't feel the need to develop its own microprocessor architecture, operating systems, database software, application frameworks, cloud frameworks and the like.

It would rather focus its resources on picking what it considers the best tools, putting them together to create platforms for customers' workloads, test them and then make them easy to purchase and use. The company believes that it is better able to distinguish itself by helping customers obtain workable, reliable and cost effective solutions rather than building everything itself.

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