‘Post privatisation, Dell has more focus on India’

Thomas K. Thomas S. Ronendra Singh | Updated on October 29, 2013

On one hand we are very aggressively pursuing the end-to-end stack, on the other hand we are pursuing tablets.

Dell is in the middle of a huge transformation both in terms of the business mix and how the company is managed. A year ago the Austin-based computing major announced plans to go beyond PC into services and solutions space.

What this means is that instead of just selling boxes, Dell is now integrating storage, servers, networking solutions along with a wide portfolio of services to become a full-fledged IT company. Amidst this, the company’s founder and CEO Michael Dell recently announced decision to take the company private.

Business Line met Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, to discuss how the new gameplan impacts Dell’s India operations. Edited Excerpts.

What will be the impact of privatisation on Dell’s India operations?

I am seeing lot more interest from Dell’s global leaders to expand their footprint in India. We launched our storage design centre that helps us the complete the entire enterprise solutions design R&D in India. We are expanding in India with regards to global service delivery as well. The 27,000 employees in India will get restated to a much higher number. So that also is something that I think is clearly an indication of the fact that post privatisation, we have more focus on India. We are amongst the top 10 countries for Dell. We obviously have a much higher say in the way products will get launched, get developed, so we are being heard much seriously and clearly they see this as a great opportunity in terms of growth.

What will be your strategy in the consumer space?

We believe that at this moment, the next big bet is actually tablets and we are placing that bet. So on one hand we are very aggressively pursuing the end-to-end stack, on the other hand we are pursuing tablets. Both of them are important because on one hand we need the market that is going to be a huge market in volumes, which will allow us to continue to have the mindshare of the users who eventually at some point in time influence the decision of end-to-end solutions stack. The point here is that as Dell, we would like the customer to see us as a single from end-use computing to highest level of services.

What will be your retail gameplan?

We are already present in big format retail chains as well as multi-brand retail. Then we have Dell exclusive stores – we had 85 stores six months back and now we have 150 stores. So, in six months, we almost doubled such stores. We are now taking the stores to tier-III, IV cities. And we are also encouraging the large format retailers if they can also expedite their plans of expansion there.

Will Dell participate in Government projects for giving laptops and tablets to students?

At this moment, we are not playing in that segment because that segment is fiercely competitive segment and it is an L1 game. The customer there is looking for basic platform and in many ways it is not attaching financial value to some of the additional features you may have on the platform.

So, it becomes tough unless one creates a new product for that segment. We assessed the market and we thought it won’t be a big market and were not sure whether this will translate to that volume or not. Probably, we did not pick up the signals right. We realised that we could have done better and we are looking at creative ways of addressing that segment. We will address that segment because that is also a market to be addressed and if we have a product and pricing for that market we will play in that market.

Has going private changed anything for Dell at the operational level?

We now call ourselves world’s largest technology start-up and in many ways it’s true because basically the company is going back to its roots. And, the roots of being lot more vibrant, more creative and entrepreneurial in its approach. The entire privatisation does multiple things to the company in the form of more flexibility. It allows us to invest in the areas where we believe the growth is, it gives us the opportunity to start investing in R&D to build our capability on end-to-end solutions space and it also allows us to invest in building a much stronger much more enhanced customer experience and while doing all of these, the company continues to be really off the unnecessary glare that otherwise exist in a business environment.

In this entire approach, what you will end up seeing from Dell is lot more quicker response to the market, speedier innovations that will ensure that we continue to remain ahead in the game.

What new can we expect from Dell?

We are trying some new business models, little premature for me to give exact details, but we are definitely are on the anvil of launching a couple of business models in a pilot phase. There is one part of the project for consumer, another part of the project for the enterprise.

Enterprise - more from the view of how do you go about acquiring customers in the space that we believe we are stronger and we have really compelling proposition. On the consumer - it is more about how do you improve on your access to the market while maintaining the overall spend at a particular level.

Published on October 29, 2013

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