‘India IT team playing a key role in transforming Dell’

Sangeetha Chengappa | | Updated on: Jan 23, 2018

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Since his elevation to the position of Chief Information Officer of Dell Inc by founder-CEO Michael Dell last October, Paul J. Walsh is on a mission to transform Dell’s internal IT organisation into a customer-centred partner to the business. Prior to this, he was Vice-President of Dell Commerce Services, which designs, builds and operates a global commerce platform that powers Dell.com. On a recent visit to India, Walsh told BusinessLine that his India team constitutes a third (2,400 engineers) of his global team of 6,500 engineers and are playing a key role in the ‘inside out’ transformation of Dell. Edited excerpts:

What is the India team’s contribution to the transformation of Dell’s internal IT organisation?

The innovation we are driving out of Dell IT in India is second to none. The team of 2,400 engineers is working on all functions very closely. On the e-commerce side, they are working on ensuring that Dell.com is the best place for our customers; delivering next-generation sales tools for our internal sales team and channel partners; on delivering enterprise services and all of the digital fulfilment we are driving for Dell Inc. They also work closely with product groups in networking, software and hardware.

India is truly a core hub of innovation and many of the innovations from India are being used globally as best practices. Some examples are Sentiment Analysis where social data are analysed in real time using NLP algorithms and Automated Data Classification where data is proactively classified in real time along with intelligence to reduce manual efforts. Over 75 innovative ideas were generated here over the last six months of which 15 have already been productised and will be sold globally.

What kind of transformation are you leading and how will it impact the business?

We, in Dell IT, are looking to innovate our way ahead. We innovate for two sets of customers — our internal customer who is the business and the external customer who is the buyer. The India team has built a sales tool that significantly improves the productivity of our sales force by reducing seven different applications a sales person had to go through to sell any of our products, down to one application.

The team spends a minimum of one hour a month with our sales team on a call to understand their pain points and then works towards delivering a solution. We have to understand and service what’s right for the business processes on one hand and the buyer or end user on the other, and deliver capabilities for both. We have been able to do this with Dell.com, which for the first time was named as the 10{+t}{+h} most responsive web and mobile experience on the planet. We are taking those learnings and applying it to our traditional IT, to build the same kind of capabilities and product.

What are your primary challenges in the transformation journey?

Bringing about a cultural change in the engineering mindset and moving them from a traditional time consuming, Waterfall delivery model to a collaborative Agile delivery model, is a challenge. Hundred per cent of India team are trained on Agile and are delivering capabilities to the business every two weeks as against once in a quarter deliveries.

Dell IT team is creating business value at a much faster pace than we did in the past, enabling Dell to respond faster to customers and becoming a true partner to the business.

We have brought down the cost of running Dell Inc by 10 per cent, and we are applying those dollars to transformation. We just went through an organisational health index assessment and saw our scores improve by 11 per cent over last year; a case of the team feeling good about their careers, managers, their roles, opportunities etc.

Published on August 04, 2015
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