Amid the shuffling deck chairs, Michael Dell stressed the customer-centric focus that was long the linchpin of his company's success:
"Customer requirements are increasingly being defined by how they use technology rather than where they use it."
As with any official executive pronouncement, Dell's statement demands some skepticism. However, the pragmatic theme should be welcome to IT managers in small and midsize businesses, who perpetually struggle with scarcity and relentless demands for results.
Dell is merely the latest vendor to organize itself in pursuit of the IT budgets of the estimated 72 million small and midsize businesses globally. And the leadership of the SMB unit will bring a global perspective (at least in location) -- heading up Dell's SMB group will be Singapore-based Steve Felice, who joined Dell in 1999 and is currently president of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan.
Speaking last May at the World Congress on Information Technology in Kuala Lumpur, Felice remarked on several issues that may hint at the leadership he'll bring to the Dell's new SMB unit. Some excerpts:
"For businesses, governments, large organizations and even individuals who use technology at home, complexity has become a hazard to the promise of IT."
"Complexity of IT comes up in virtually every conversation I have with customers. That doesn't surprise me, when 70% of your time goes to just maintaining IT systems, only 30% is left for innovation. After one speech, someone came up to me and said, at my business, it's more like 20%."
"IT simplification isn't just something for IT engineers. It's about putting more expansive computing power in the hands of more people. IT simplification is at the heart of technology that is smarter, faster, more efficient and better for the environment. IT simplification means computing that's more accessible, including to people using computers for the first time. IT simplification is also making it possible for governments and organizations to use the power of technology to better know and respond to needs of their constituents."
In the same speech, Felice addressed some trends that he believes are moves toward "replacing complexity with smarter, simpler technology." Here's the distilled, bullet version:
- Cloud computing
- Modular (and scalable) computing -- that means blades
- Remote and automated IT support services
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