US Report: Dell plans to do 100% of its business online

The way Michael Dell sees it, the Internet isn't just a way of doing business, it's the only way of doing business.

At a brief keynote and Q&A session at the Gartner Group Internet & Electronic Commerce Conference yesterday, Dell's CEO said his company is on the way to doing 100 percent of its business online.

The computer maker has up to $4m (£2.4m) per day in online sales, but the key to growth for the company is to extend Internet sales toward suppliers, Dell said, and turn all physical sales relationships to electronic ones.

The bottom line: cutting costs by streamlining processes. "The Web does not create success but enables a process to success," Dell said. For businesses to take advantage of that process, they need to restructure their operations.

Dell cited two cases of extended online relationships. One is with Shell Oil a Dell customer that is using its Dell Premier Pages Web site to establish an employee purchase plan. Use of the page, Dell said, gives Shell a way to extend extra benefits to its employees.

More significantly, however, Dell is extending its online relationships to its suppliers. Intel for example, is in a pilot test with Dell to manage supply and demand issues between the two companies. The business-to-business relationship, Dell said, allows both companies to reduce costs, shrink time and distance, and improve their business relationship.