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CEO Visions: Collaboration Equals Innovation

Healthy business relationships are based as much on transparency and trust as they are on transactions, says Dell Computer's Michael Dell.

The landscape of our industry in 2003 will continue to change rapidly as businesses get even more focused on selecting a handful of strategic partners to help them drive out cost, integrate technologies that provide significant business advantage or productivity gains, and aggressively look for applications that can be shifted to more flexible and cost-effective platforms.

The past year taught us that healthy business relationships are based on more than just transactions. Transparency and trust are critical, as are profitability and sound business planning. Certainly in 2003, customers will continue to demand quality in their business-computing products. But they'll also want to feel confident that their technology partners are reliable and will be around for the long run. Credibility around products, service, and business management will play a role in corporate buying decisions. Dell's strategy remains consistent: Our goal is to provide an even better customer experience and to continually improve our ability to give our customers what they want, when they want it.

As I look at technology in 2003, wireless will be one of the key technologies to achieve greater standardization and mass adoption. More and more companies are realizing the productivity benefits of enabling their employees to be online across corporate campuses as well as in airports, coffee shops, at home, and in other settings outside the workplace. To address this demand, Dell plans to offer integrated wireless as a standard feature on all of our corporate laptops by the end of 2003.

In addition, customers are asking that we develop products with greater levels of customization and modularity, especially in servers and storage. This year, new Dell servers will be designed to let customers build and configure their computing infrastructures more dynamically and integrate new technologies more easily with modular blades and server blades.

Furthermore, we want to con tinue to be innovative and aggressive about seeking customer input and using it to develop future Dell products. This year we'll launch the next generation of our corporate notebook. This system is the result of a collaborative development process that brought together Dell customers and design engineers. Collaborative R&D between IT buyers, vendors, and partners is central to future innovation.

The economic environment is accelerating the shift to standards-based computing. The last several years have proven that proprietary legacy platforms are one of the biggest financial burdens for CEOs and CIOs in all industries. Legacy proprietary computing architectures aren't only expensive to maintain but also keep companies from realizing the efficiencies and benefits of new technologies.

Standards-based technologies that are cost-effective to purchase, maintain, and replace are recognized as the future of data-center computing and economics. They're also at the heart of every product we make. Dell began 18 years ago with standards-based computers, and we continue to develop new and more sophisticated applications for off-the-shelf technologies. For example, customers all over the world are leveraging the power of standards-based systems linked together to act as a single high-powered computer for advanced computations as an alternative to proprietary supercomputers.

Our mission is to make business-computing systems more affordable and available to more people. The combination of standards-based technology and Dell ingenuity is doing just that, bringing down the cost of computer systems and letting more businesses, schools, and individuals do more things, reach more people, and learn more about the world. We'll continue to press forward in that mission throughout 2003 and beyond.

Michael Dell is chairman and CEO of Dell Computer. He also serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Photo of Michael Dell by Zuma Press

Search for more articles in InformationWeek about this author:

Do tech stars like Michael Dell, Steve Ballmer, and Carly Fiorina see the future clearly? Check out what our complete panel of 32 visionaries have to say here.

Columns By Other Hardware Company CEOs
Craig Barrett, Intel Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems
John Chambers, Cisco Systems Inc. Sam Palmisano, IBM
Michael Dell, Dell Computer Joe Tucci, EMC Corp.
Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard Dan Warmenhoven, Network Appliance Inc.

Is the author right? Or out in left field? Have your say on this column and the rest of our Future Visions package at informationweek.com/forum/informationweek

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