Ringing the changes as Dell diversifies
The PC maker has been working at adding new strings to its bow through product development and acquisitions, which have seen it branch out into software, storage and networking equipment, writes CIARA O'BRIEN
A FEW YEARS ago, Dell was the biggest name in the consumer electronics industry. Synonymous with the PC market, the emphasis was clearly on hardware.
It’s still the fourth largest PC maker, but these days Dell is more interested in providing what Dell's EMEA president Aongus Hegarty describes as an “end-to-end” solution to its customers.
PCs and laptops are still part of that, making up about half of the company’s revenue at the last count, but it’s not the sole focus.
Dell has been working at adding new strings to its bow through a combination of product development and various acquisitions, which have seen it branch out into software, storage and networking equipment.
In the past couple of years, it has bought Quest Software, networking vendor Force10, thin client firm Wyse, and network security firm SonicWall, among others.
“Dell is going through a transformation over the last couple of years,” Hegarty says. “We’ve really transformed the company over that period, and accelerated that in the last two years.”
Hegarty has worked with Dell for some time – 12 years – and in a variety of roles, so he has been well placed to witness the company’s transformation first hand.
At the beginning of the year, he took over responsibility for the EMEA region, including some of Dell’s emerging markets.
It’s an interesting time to be in the industry, with changing consumer needs and the economic crisis causing companies to tighten their belts.
“Our industry is so dynamic and changing, and there is such a wide variety of customers and experiences,” says Hegarty.
“There are different challenges in different markets. The public sector is a market that from a spend and government perspective has been under a lot of pressure across many countries over the last couple of years.
“Yet technology can enable so much from an efficiency and productivity point of view, which is right at the forefront of what we’re looking for.”
It is that potential to lower costs that Dell is currently focusing on when promoting its services, offering more efficient solutions to customers.
Dell’s move isn’t unique; concentrating on the enterprise side of things is a path that IBM and HP have gone before it. IBM has moved to a pure enterprise focus, divesting itself of its hardware business and selling
its PC unit to Chinese firm Lenovo. HP had considered a similar move but ultimately decided to keep its personal systems group.
Dell says it isn’t planning to dispose of its consumer device unit – that’s not even a consideration at present.
“PCs and that technology is still important. It’s not that we’ve stepped away from the PC, it’s really that we have really broadened out our capabilities,” says Hegarty.
“Customers I speak to are looking for a company that wants to understand their business, what their burning business needs and requirements are, and have the capability to deploy technology solutions to meet those needs. We would see ourselves as an end-to-end technology company.