The Big Picture: Dell's Global Development Strategy

Dell expects development, wherever it's done, to be relevant worldwide, not solving the needs of individual countries. That's reflected in one of Dell's core beliefs: "Build anywhere, not everywhere."

Chris Murphy, Editor, InformationWeek

September 5, 2003

2 Min Read

On the wall of the Dell IT group's conference room is a world map with a shadow that moves across it to show which countries are in darkness. Knowing when overseas colleagues are probably asleep is one of the simpler steps Dell is taking to run as a single, global business.

More difficult are some of the specific goals Dell's IT department has set for global performance. The IT group's five-year objectives include being able to deploy an application in every Dell site in the world within six months of when the software is stabilized in the pilot country. Dell can't consistently do that today. "A lot of people say that's not possible," says CIO Randy Mott. "But when you set that as a goal, then you go through your processes and see how you can get there."

Dell is hungry for overseas growth. It now claims the spot as the No. 3 supplier of computer systems in Japan, where its unit sales grew 35% in the most-recent quarter as the rest of the industry declined 2%. Its sales in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe grew 25% for the six months of the fiscal year ended Aug. 1, compared with 14% for the Americas.

Randy Mott and IT VP Susan Sheskey met recently with three executive committee members, the general managers of Asia and Europe, and a procurement executive to discuss what they need to do to take their business global. Sheskey says from an IT standpoint it centers on a vision of "one": standardizing things such as the application architecture and data model so they're the same around the world.

Dell has software development going on in several countries, including India. The company expects development, wherever it's done, to be relevant for use worldwide, not solving the needs of individual countries, country by country. That's reflected in one of Dell's core beliefs: "Build anywhere, not everywhere."

Return to main story, "Imagining What's Possible"

About the Author(s)

Chris Murphy

Editor, InformationWeek

Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and co-chair of the InformationWeek Conference. He has been covering technology leadership and CIO strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; and a daily newspaper reporter in Michigan, where he covered everything from crime to the car industry. Murphy studied economics and journalism at Michigan State University, has an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, and has passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

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