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There is an interesting backstory that is at the core of Dell’s Annual Analyst Conference (which is where I am writing this) this year. It has to do with whether Dell has discovered the equivalent of a Fountain for Youth for Corporations.
You see, firms go through a life cycle and most don’t even make it to 10 let alone to 30. It’s Dell’s 30th anniversary this year. The reason is that as a firm moves from private to public they tend to implement programs like Forced Ranking that are focused on making management easy but work against agility and employee retention. And they increasingly focus on keeping financial analysts happy as opposed to taking risks to anticipate market changes and drive their markets like many did when they were younger.
Michael Dell and his executive team are attempting to turn the clock back and about half a year ago they took the company private and, according to the financial reports they are sharing, Dell already looks much younger than it did last year.
Let’s talk about Dell’s Corporate Fountain of Youth this week.
You see this in spades in companies ranging from Apple to Cisco and Oracle. They have gone from firms that once drove their respective markets to firms struggling to contain market share, profit, and customer declines while facing new waves of younger firms that aren’t hampered by the need to protect the status quo.
What appears to define the aging company is a swap from a focus on innovation and agility to a focus on avoiding mistakes, assigning blame, and pretending the world hasn’t changed that much. Reminiscent of that old guy at the family reunion who complains that the kids “don’t get it,” the aging firm struggles to balance the massive pressures to meet quarterly expectations with the need to retain and motivate employees and keep customers happy.
Some firms simply move to mine customer resources while others bleed ever larger groups of employees because they simply can’t maintain the balance and go into decline. Keeping that from happening – particularly in the face of increasing market pressure – seems almost impossible, but that is exactly what Dell is attempting.
Part of being young is being able to take risks and in general public firms struggle with this. That goes to the core of why Dell went private. By taking the pressure off of quarterly results they are now much freer to take chances and attempt to innovate because the fear of being pummeled by financial markets if that gamble doesn’t pay off is eliminated.
Dell has also been able to reverse decisions like moving to Forced Employee Ranking that plague public companies today (to their credit both Microsoft and HP have done this as well). This allows them to behave more like a younger firm and once again innovate and move with more youthful agility.
One of the problems with being private is that much of the information the market gets doesn’t come from quarterly financial reports but from competitors and from guesses by analysts. I call this last the Analyst Psychic Network and neither source is as reliable as the firm itself.
Dell is reporting their 5th quarter of expanding market share and financial growth. This contrasts with most competitors who seem to be trying to effectively manage declines. When a firm moves against the tide, in this case growing while competitors and other technology companies decline, that suggests they are benefitting from the market change like a young company, would rather than being hurt by it like an older firm.
While we are still early in the process, Dell’s reports this week suggest this effort is successful and that a Corporate Fountain of Youth is at least possible.
I had a chance to talk with Michael Dell last night and he appears far more relaxed and much more excited about what his people are doing this year. In prior years he was much more measured and clearly concerned that Dell was then struggling to understand, let alone react, to the massive changes in the market. In effect he seems more like a CEO from a younger company and, strangely, he actually acts more like a younger CEO in terms of balancing pressure and expressing excitement and hope.
The idea that it is possible to restore an aging company to youth is a relatively new one and it appears that Dell may have found the path to making this happen. Perhaps more firms should watch Dell because Dell’s path may represent their best option for assuring they don’t become obsolete as well.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
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In today’s digital age, artificial intelligence (AI) has found its applications in almost all spheres of life and business. In a time when organizations find it increasingly challenging to upskill and reskill their workforce, they are adopting AI to deliver effective corporate e-learning solutions.
These solutions offer a personalized way for employees to learn and grow as per their needs. There are many ways AI helps to facilitate the overall corporate training and development experience.
Personalized learning journey
These days, the one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work in regards to training the millennial work force. Individuals have different learning needs, tastes, adaptability and outputsignal.
Therefore, organizations make use of artificial intelligence technologies to monitor individual performance and collate data according to their general progress.
The information helps organizations upgrade e-learning program and consequently assign to students per their applicable needs.
Also read: 10 Best Saas Marketing Tools And Platforms For 2023
Continuous feedback and improvement cycle
Therefore, students have real-time feedback according to their own performance. This feedback is information driven and may be more objective in contrast to a personal trainer’s opinions, who may overlook finer details. It helps students understand their weak and strong regions and farther in the ideal direction.
Addressing the queries
The wise AI technology may also cover the issues of e-learners in real time. Among the substantial issues that students face during conventional online corporate coaching sessions would be your inability to clean their questions when they want it. It could possibly be a result of the lack of a live teacher.
Thus, by integrating AI technology using e-learning content, the absence of an individual coach could be addressed to a wonderful extent. Learners may ask questions in the AI helper and receive relevant answers.
More accessibility and inclusion
As associations aim to become more people friendly and inclusive, the new-age learning management solutions powered by AI technology will help train students with disabilities.
By way of instance, these e-learning options can convert spoken language to transcripts for students with disabilities or vice-versa for all those who have visual difficulties.
Also read: Top 3 Lessons I Learned from Growing a $100K+ Business
AI empowered e-learning creates and assesses training information. These data patterns can be profound and rich enough to be outside individual processing capacities.
With increasing waves of electronic disturbance, AI is emerging as the central technologies to supply business e-learning solutions.
The majority of the new era e-learning programs are automatic using AI technology. These programs include evaluations, brief quizzes, and gamified set exercises. These help to improve learner participation, bridge knowledge-gaps, boost yield on investments, and enhance company productivity.
Finally, AI is changing from relevancy in technologically complex areas to impacting substantial industries like Automobile, Aviation, Retail, Healthcare, etc.
With invention in AI learning versions, next-generation learning programs can create an immersive environment for school-age students. Because of this, this makes sure that the general experience gets more engaging, more personalized, and better for each student.
Best Prices Today: Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320
Like cars and fashion, laptop makers tend to all mirror each other’s looks and features. For example, ridiculously large bezels were all the rage until Dell’s original XPS 13 broke from the pack and introduced InfinityEdge bezels. Within a generation, any laptop with large bezels looked years if not a decade out of date. The latest Dell XPS 13 features much of the same design cues, but with some, shall we say, interesting changes.Dell XPS 13 Plus specs and features
Let’s check out what’s inside the XPS 13 Plus. The review sample has an Intel Core i7-1280P CPU. The CPU features an impressive sounding 14-cores (6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores) of Alder Lake CPU inside. Here’s the rest of the specs for you to eyeball, but the key features include a standard M.2 Gen 4 SSD and the option for a luscious 3.5K OLED panel.
Display: 13.4 3.5K 3456×2160 OLED touch, 400-nit rated, anti-reflective coating
Processor: Intel 14-core Core i7-1280P
Graphics: Iris Xe Graphics
Memory: 8GB-32GB LPDDR5/5200 (16GB as tested)
Storage: 512GB-2TBGB SSD M.2 Gen 4 PCIe (512GB as tested)
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 4 (3.5mm dongle and USB-A to USB-C dongle included
Camera: 720p with Windows Hello support
Wireless: WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1
Operating system: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions (inches): 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6
Weight: 2.71 lbs. for FHD, 2.77 for 4K+
Price: Beginning at $1949 ($799 as tested)Trackpad and keyboard
The Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 once again tries to set the style stage for all laptop makers. The most striking feature is its “trackpad-less” look that masks the trackpad underneath a contiguous piece of Gorilla Glass. It gives the user the impression of a large wrist rest without the typical rectangular cutout for the trackpad we’re so used to. The trackpad actually starts around the left side of the space bar and stretches to the right Alt key. There’s also a slight margin of about a quarter of an inch from the top and bottom as well.
Hidden beneath a piece of Gorilla Glass is a fairly large haptic-based trackpad.
Adam Patrick Murray
Although amazing to look at, one issue with the hidden trackpad is not knowing where the edges are. In my experience, however, using the trackpad felt as natural as any other. It’s likely years of conditioning from the trackpad always being in the central portion between your palms. Others may have their brains broken with it and want to see the lines around the edge, but the experience was seamless for me.
The obvious question is why even bother with the trouble if what works ain’t broke? The answer is known by anyone who wants form over function, which is most of the world. That answer won’t satisfy many, but if you’re reading this wearing skinny jeans instead of loose-fitting jeans, you might be a hypocrite about function taking precedent over form.
What’s perhaps scary clever about the trackpad is that it’s so attention grabbing you may skip the other things worth talking about. For example, the other little noticed design change with the XPS 13 Plus are the capacitive touch function keys (these replace mechanical buttons). They default to media functions and screen brightness. With the press of the function key to the left of the spacebar, it converts to F1 to F12.
Look, I don’t mind the screen brightness and volume being capacitive touch, but having the escape, delete, home, and end key as capacitive touch is particularly jarring. Pressing Ctrl-Alt using physical keys and then having your finger crunch into the capacitive Del key just feels wrong. The all important Esc just doesn’t feel right without physical feedback.
Dell said the capacitive touch keys wasn’t done to anger you further. It just chose function over form. The capacitive touch keys take no space while a standard physical key will eat up precious millimeters of space.Connectivity
When it comes to ports on the XPS 13 Plus 9320, it’s about as minimalistic as the trackpad. In fact, it’s barely clinging on to even being a plural. Yes, it has two USB-C ports, but lose one of those and the XPS 13 Plus goes form “ports” to port. You can see that below where the left side of the has a single USB-C port available.
At least both ports offer Thunderbolt 4 support, so you can charge and run an external display of off a single port at very high speeds (with a dock or hub). On the road, however, plug in the 60-watt charger and you have one port free.
You get two ports on the XPS 13 Plus and that’s it.
Adam Patrick MurraySound and webcam
Dell has been leaning into better audio on its XPS-series of laptops and the XPS 13 Plus doesn’t disappoint. The speakers are bottom firing through slots milled into the aluminum body. It gets decently loud with fairly rich sound. To be honest, the XPS 13 Plus sounds better than most thin gaming laptop’s we’ve seen.
Other premium laptops are offering 1080p resolution and higher so the XPS 13 Plus’ 720p webcam seems pretty pedestrian. In reality, the image quality is fine. The webcam module also includes a separate IR camera for Windows Hello biometric support.
The XPS 13 Plus supports presence detection, which means the screen dims when you look away and then brightens up when you walk up to it. With Windows Hello enabled, you should be able to have it log in for you as well. If you’re not into all the facial features, you can also just touch your finger to the power button, which has an integrated finger-print reader.
The 720p webcam of the XPS 13 Plus 9320 sounds boring but it’s find for video conferencing.
If you’re the kind of laptop buyer more interested in what’s inside, we’ll kick off our look at performance of the XPS 13 Plus in Maxon’s Cinebench R20 benchmark. For our CPU and graphics testing, all of the tests were conducted in Windows 11 and with the laptops set to their performance presets.
Cinebench is a test based on the same engine used in its professional 3D modelling product. We run the test using all cores, and a single core.
Under a multi-core load that scales well, the XPS 13 Plus and its Core i7-1280P easily outpaces laptops based on Intel’s older 11th gen CPUs as well as all generations of AMD’s Ryzen U-class CPUs. The upshot is if you’re looking for ultra portable laptop that can actually belt out decent performance for 3D modelling the XPS 13 Plus is a contender. That also likely means it should do well with compiling code as well as other tasks that use all of the cores.
For this test, we use the free and popular Handbrake encoder to convert a 4K 6.3GB video encoded in H.264 to the more efficient H.265 CODEC using the CPU. The tasks leans more CPU cores and takes quite some time to run. On the quad-core 11th gen MSI Prestige 14 Evo, for example, it takes about one hour and 40 minutes.
The XPS 13 Plus manages to outpace the Asus Zenbook 13 with its 8-core Ryzen 7 5800U. It outpaced the newest Zenbook 13 S OLED with its 8-core Ryzen 6800U by a hair.
You can also see the direct impact of the laptop maker’s decisions with the older Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, which slides in front of the XPS 13 Plus. Performance on very long running and CPU-heavy tasks puts the XPS 13 Plus in good company, but it doesn’t quite end up in first place. Realistically, it’s fine.
The real upshot is that for what most people do on very thin and very light laptops, any of the machines will do quite well. On the flip side, the Intel-based laptops do better in the Essentials category, which measures app startup using Chromium, Firefox, LibreOffice Writer, and GIMP image editor. Both Intel laptops also do better in video conferencing.
In digital content creation, the XPS 13 Plus and the newer Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED easily outpace their rivals.
We certainly didn’t expect the stellar run time like we saw in the Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED with its Ryzen 7 6800U, especially since it has a 22 percent larger battery, but we were hoping for similar run times as the MSI Prestige 14 Evo with the same size battery. As I noted above, the screen resolution of the XPS 13 Plus is far higher than the Prestige 14 Evo, but at the same time—it’s an OLED, which should do better on video run downs.
The upshot is battery life won’t be horrible on the XPS 13 Plus, but it certainly won’t impress either. It lasted a little over eight hours on a single charge.
Although the style of XPS 13 Plus isn’t guaranteed to set the standard for other laptops to follow, there’s a lot of history that says it will. Beyond the style, you’re still getting leading edge performance and a beautiful OLED panel all wrapped in a stunningly beautiful laptop. It’s still a solid option for business professionals and graphic designers.
Adam Patrick Murray
PayPal is one prominent example of a company that practices corporate social responsibility, and there are practical ways for even much smaller businesses to follow its lead.
More and more customers are saying that they are more likely to support businesses that align with their values.
If you’d like your business to support a cause, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to find something that strikes a chord.
This article is for business owners interested in incorporating social responsibility into their business plans.
When it comes to corporate social responsibility, small businesses could learn a lot from PayPal. The credit card processing giant facilitates charitable giving in several ways, including its PayPal Giving Fund, which allows nonprofits to process donations without fees or deductions – and PayPal adds an extra 1% to Giving Fund donations made during the holiday season.
According to Sean Milliken, PayPal’s head of global social innovation, promoting social responsibility is part of the company’s broader business plan.
“People want to do business with companies that are aligned with a cause,” said Milliken in an interview with Business News Daily. “Giving back, contributing to society, [and] being a good corporate citizen is not only the right thing to do – it’s good for business.”
Even if your company doesn’t have the resources to embrace social responsibility on PayPal’s scale, there are good reasons to integrate some form of charitable giving into your business plan.
To learn more about PayPal’s offerings, read our guide to PayPal’s mobile card reader.What is social responsibility?
In business terms, social responsibility is when companies take action to benefit society while increasing value for shareholders. To achieve social responsibility, corporations and the people who work for them must act in the best interest of society and the environment.
A business can achieve sustainability by holding itself accountable and being transparent about how it operates. Adopting these social responsibility principles in your business can help your employees and customers feel more fulfilled and positive toward your organization.
To become socially responsible, your business should enact policies that strive to benefit society. Some companies enact “green” policies focused on creating a more sustainable environment, while others establish moral responsibility and workplace ethics policies to ensure they act within their shareholders’ best interests.
Socially responsible businesses prioritize working for social good, weaving social responsibility into their business models.2. Social responsibility helps align you with your customers.
While employee engagement is vital, your social responsibility efforts should also encourage customers to support charities your business supports. While charitable giving is built directly into some business plans, other companies find opportunities to give back that align with their business purposes, even if they aren’t necessarily written into the company’s founding principles.
If you’re still developing your business plan, you can use our business plan template to craft one that incorporates social responsibility right from the beginning.
Milliken said there are various ways to connect customers to a cause. Customers are likely to rally around an immediate need, such as after a natural disaster. They are also likely to participate in giving that ties a social purpose to the product or service they’re buying. For example, TOMS Shoes has a “buy one, donate one” model.
Milliken said either approach could work for businesses that know their customers. “You can align yourself with a cause that is close to who you are as a business that will resonate with people and make natural sense. One way is not better than the other. [Social responsibility] does not have to be part of the business model from the start.”3. Social responsibility can drive innovation.
While businesses giving back to their communities isn’t a new idea, integrating social corporate responsibility into a business’s very foundation is a relatively novel concept.
“Businesses have a long history of giving back, but I think the models for doing so have evolved,” said Milliken, who adds that the word “innovation” in his job title reflects PayPal’s commitment to changing the way the company thinks about social responsibility. “No longer will companies have a corporate social responsibility department where one or two people sit in an office writing checks to nonprofits.” [Read related article: Creativity Is Not Innovation (But You Need Both)]
Part of integrating giving into a company’s overall mission is responding to how technology is rapidly changing the way people donate money and support charities. Milliken said mobile technology and social media are drastically impacting how customers give and how businesses will reach those customers.
“We’re seeing a huge move toward mobile,” he said. “And that trend will continue to grow.
To the extent that we can embed ways for people to give anytime, anywhere, we have a real shot at increasing the level of charitable giving.”
Social media is also creating more opportunities for people to give. PayPal makes a point of providing the technology and tools to make this happen, according to Milliken. The key to leveraging social channels for charitable giving is to ensure the messaging is contextual and relevant to what the customer is doing at that moment, he said. “Social media can help us find people in these moments, giving us a better shot to get them to give.”Ways your business can be socially responsible
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social responsibility initiatives, but here are some straightforward ways to get started.1. Clearly state your company values.
Some entrepreneurs and small business owners are so focused on starting their business and launching their product or service that they don’t take the time to define their company’s values clearly.
Take a step back and reflect on what social good your company can support. Discuss this with your executive team and conduct employee surveys to learn what’s important to the company as a whole. Once you have a clear sense of your team’s values, you can look for projects and foundations to match.
If you feel stuck or uncertain about what cause you’d like to support, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to note what sticks out to you.2. Create realistic goals.
After establishing your values, think about how those values can inform your business goals. Brainstorm a list of actionable items you and your team want to achieve within a specific time frame.
Since it takes time to establish a process and routine, keep your early goals small and manageable. That way, you can achieve your goals more easily and won’t get discouraged. As you continue to connect responsibility policies and projects, you can expand and grow your goals.3. Educate your employees and customers.
Once you create a plan, state your intentions to your employees. Let them know you value their insight when it comes to establishing your company values, and discuss the goals you’ve developed with their input. Clearly outline the social initiatives you’re focusing on and how you’ll make impactful change.
Include your social responsibility goals in your employee handbook and company policies. Some policies, such as paid time off (PTO) policies for volunteering, encourage employees to make a difference and demonstrate that your company looks beyond the financial bottom line.
When you establish your company as an ethical organization that cares about social issues, you’re more likely to retain top talent and attract high-level applicants in your hiring process.
After getting your employees up to speed, let your customers know about your new social responsibility goals. Your customers will feel that you’re engaging them on a human level and not just trying to sell to them.
Most customers like to know that the businesses they support align with their values. For this reason, launching a social responsibility initiative and sharing it with your customers is an excellent customer retention strategy and a way to interest new clients.
Sean Peek contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
Dell Deal: Business or Legacy?
The temptation to draw parallels between Michael Dell and Apple’s Steve Jobs is a compelling one. Both founded technology companies that went on to great success; both left their position at the helm for some time, and then returned with great fanfare. However, Dell is not Jobs, and while the Apple CEO died leaving a vastly successful, hugely grown, and even fashionable company, Dell has struggled to do the same. Now, with Dell – along with a little financial help from some friends – wrenching back control of his eponymous company, the question remains: how much is righting the Dell ship with good business strategy, and how much is preserving the legacy of the business he gave his name.
That Dell and Apple’s paths – and Michael Dell and Steve Jobs – paths have diverged is arguably not surprising. Apple’s position in the market is very different to that of Dell, with the Mac and iOS ecosystems both paragons of control and self-determination; in contrast, Dell’s business is far more reliant on other pieces of the computing puzzle – Microsoft and its Windows OS being a significant component of that – and buffeted by other big names in the PC industry, like HP.
It’s easy to say that Dell’s strategy fell between the cracks between shifting with the marketplace and short-term investor demand. Certainly, the company’s lackluster attempts at the smartphone and tablet segments would seem to show signs of that; it takes time, effort, and investment, and even then you’re not guaranteed of success (look at HP’s webOS attempts for evidence of that). That’s not a juggling act that works well when you have shareholders watching over your shoulders, baying for profit, but it’s also something that’s incredibly necessary if you want to be successful in today’s market.
Dell’s original disruptive strategy in the PC business – back when we all had towers on our desktops, not laptops on our laps – was to make the computer ordering process a smorgasbord. Now, with spec flexibility less fashionable, and simplicity of range more prized by consumers and manufacturers alike, the time is ripe for another disruption in Dell’s business.
That disruption may not be so publicly visible, but it’s no less important. Wresting back control and taking Dell private means Michael Dell and his new business partners can play the long game that the consumer tech industry has become. There’s plenty to be said for a supply-chain that can shave margins to a minimum, and – as Windows Phone, Surface RT, and Surface Pro have begun to demonstrate – there are areas in which Microsoft’s platforms have potential as part of a joined-up ecosystem.
For Michael Dell, though, there’s much to be said for casting off the shackles of the peanut gallery. Steve Jobs had shareholders, but their demands were met with stoney resolution in the face of his unflinching vision for Apple. If Dell has a similarly sweeping vision for the company that bears his name, it’s been mired in board squabbles and the demand to answer the call for “more money now!” and to swiftly scythe away at anything that looks remotely like bad business.
That may well go hand in hand with a refreshed legacy: ending his tenure on a high point would be a fitting way to close out Dell’s position at the helm, something – despite the extra financial involvement – every party involved must at least be considering now. Still, raising capital is the easy part. Dell, both man and company, has a limited window for recreation, lest it go out with a whimper not a bang.
If you think Dell is ready to give up on the PC, think again. When asked about the so-called post-PC era, he says “the post-PC era has been pretty good for PCs so far,” noting that 380 million PCs were sold in 2011. Nevertheless, as I learned in the course of swapping email messages with Michael Dell for this Q&A, even though Dell may be remaining true to its PC roots, it’s also moving at lightning speed into the future.
Hybrid laptops; Windows 8 tablets; and a Dell-powered ecosystem of networking, storage, security, servers, virtualization, and cloud services define Dell today. That’s a far cry from the Dell that wrote the book on direct-sale PCs and e-commerce back in the 1980s.
Today Dell faces serious challenges. Critics have accused it of missing the mobile revolution (despite its having tested the waters in 2010 with its Dell Streak tablet line). And since the iPhone was launched in 2007, Dell has lost 60 percent of its market value.
So what does Michael Dell have to say about his company today?
PCWorld: Since your return to Dell, you have been redefining the company. Can you tell people what Dell is today and what it will be in five years?
Today we’re still very focused on helping our customers get more value and better results from technology—but customer needs have changed, and we now offer a much broader set of solutions. It’s really an exciting time to be in IT. Innovations in areas like cloud, mobile, and big-data analytics are changing the way the world works, and we’re aligning our business with these new opportunities to better serve our customers. In five years, I expect we’ll be leading the way as an end-to-end IT solutions provider, but in some ways, we’ll also be the same—meaning very attuned to the needs of our customers.
PCW: Do you see Dell adopting ARM-based products at some point? What can you tell us about upcoming Dell branded smartphones and Windows RT tablets?
Dell’s XPS 10 tablet.
Dell: Yes, the Dell XPS 10, a 10-inch tablet with ARM and Windows RT, debuted at IFA last month. It’s among the latest additions to our XPS product line and a great reflection of how we’re approaching mobility and the consumerization of IT. These end-user devices are designed for our core customer set—commercial and mobile professionals—and are optimized for management, security, and productivity.
PCW: You’ve said that Dell wants to offer customers more than just a smartphone or tablet. What type of total solution are you talking about?
Dell: We’re focused on the entire IT ecosystem. The devices our customers use to generate and consume information are a critical starting point, and that remains very important to us. We have some of the best products in the marketplace. For example, Dell Precision workstations and our XPS ultrabooks. But we recognize that PCs are just part of the picture. We have leading capabilities to manage customer information seamlessly and securely in multiple-device and BYOD environments, including virtualized desktop that you can access from any device.
But beyond devices is an ecosystem of networking, storage, security, servers, virtualization, and cloud. This is where a lot of the opportunity in IT resides and where we believe we can lead. The total solution is world-class devices backed by world-class infrastructure and services that support, connect, manage, and secure customer information. If the only tool in your box is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. We’ve built a toolbox of customizable, scalable, flexible end-to-end solutions that put the customer first, not the technology or service we’re trying to sell.
PCW: Microsoft is getting into the computer hardware business via its Surface tablets. Is this good or bad for OEMs in general, and what’s your take on the impact of Microsoft’s hardware aspirations on Dell specifically?
Dell: I think the impact will be limited, given the number of units they expect to ship. Microsoft developed the product largely as a reference architecture—to set a baseline for Windows 8 user experience. We’re aligning a significant portion of our product development with Windows 8, and we think it offers some great, new capabilities. Anything Microsoft does to support faster Windows 8 adoption is fine by Dell. However, our focus is less on their plans and more on designing and delivering compelling Dell products and solutions.
Dell’s XPS convertible notebook.
PCW: Where do you hope to take the notebook and computing with Windows 8? Dell showed a really snazzy convertible notebook at IFA last month. What can we expect, and when?
Dell: We’re working closely with Microsoft to ensure our Windows 8 products deliver the best user experience possible. Along with the XPS 12 you mentioned, we also introduced the XPS 10, a tablet with a mobile keyboard dock, and the XPS One 27 all-in-one PC with touch, all of which are designed for Win 8. We’ll be introducing other products for consumers and businesses closer to launch. We understand our customers’ evolving IT needs perhaps better than anyone [else] in our industry, and that insight is baked into all of our new solutions.
PCW: What are your biggest markets these days? Consumer, SMB, or enterprise?
Dell: More than 80 percent of our business is what we call commercial—a combination of SMB, Enterprise, and Public Sector—so that’s a strength and a priority for us. We are particularly focused on the midmarket, which is underserved and also a segment where we are positioned to lead with our open, scalable solutions. However, with the ongoing consumerization of IT, we are also fully aware of the blurring of lines between what is consumer and what is commercial, and the products and services we’re delivering today and into the future are designed to bridge that gap.
PCW: What services do you see as essential for small businesses as technology evolves? (For example, cloud services and security?)
Dell: SMBs may very well be the big winners when it comes to new and emerging trends in IT. We’re working to make business applications and capabilities that were formerly reserved for the largest of enterprises accessible to any company of any size through solutions that combine various elements of cloud, mobility, converged infrastructure, software. and services. So for example, a midmarket company can access big-data analytics or stand up a cloud architecture without needing a data scientist on staff or an IT department with a couple of hundred people to keep things running.
Dell: It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of cash to start a great company. Some of the best ideas come from young people who bring new insights and perspective to existing opportunities. That was certainly my experience, and I feel pretty good about how that turned out. So if you have a great idea and you’re willing to pursue it, learn from your mistakes and adjust quickly, and keep your customer at the center of everything you do.
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