After attending the Dell Annual Analysts Conference (DAAC) India 2012, here are some suggestions that I want to put across to Dell to consider while moving forward with their vision for the India market:
- You are a ‘high pedigree’ hardware company and users of your devices have consistently displayed faith in your products. I have seen many users of Dell laptop PCs recommending the brand to their friends and families. This clearly indicates high levels of satisfaction with Dell products and users see ‘value for money’ in their purchases. I have also had firsthand experience of IT managers recommending Dell laptop PCs when an intending purchaser solicited their advice. So, the gist of what I am saying is that users have a high level of assurance with Dell products. Assurance plays a key role in the Services sector. Being now reoriented as a solutions company, rather than just a hardware products vendor, Dell have to build wisely on the attribute of ‘assurance level’ with existing users and potential, new customers. A service offering is half accomplished if it carries the assurance of a leading, reliable brand name.
- A second issue for Dell to address is to increase awareness about the company’s changing orientation. Though the orientation will mean more business for Dell in the B2B space, there should also be messaging aimed at building awareness with individual consumers. Campaigns run around individuals always help in faster propagation and quicker acceptance of the message. So, while Dell interacts and engages with B2B stakeholders, it is important to have consumer centric campaigns as well. After all, among these individual consumers would be business decision makers and influencers as well.
- The third point I want to make to Dell is that in the space of IT Infrastructure Solutions and Physical Infrastructure Security, Video Surveillance is gaining momentum in the India market. Be it large or SMB enterprises, physical security is a rising concern. As per a recent CMR study, the India Video Surveillance market stands at over INR 1,000 crore (CY 2011) and is expected to cross INR 3,500 crore by 2015 at a 34.5% CAGR. This element should not be left by Dell to be managed by partners alone. It will make even more sense for Dell to have a ‘direct’ say in the space as the market adopts IP-based video surveillance. Although, currently 68% of the India video surveillance market is analog but IP-based video surveillance is expected to grow at a 41.3% CAGR in India to 2015. Moreover, Dell has all the elements – Storage, Software and the Networking building blocks that go into a video surveillance solution. Thus it becomes a compelling case for Dell to consider, and may serve as a differentiator for the vendor compared to other IT solutions vendors.
- One (probably the only) unique feature that Dell talks about for its tablet, the Dell XPS is that it has a user-removable battery. Although a good convenience, but given the fact that the Dell XPS is targeted at enterprises, ‘user-removable battery’ might not be able to build a strong enough case as a differentiator. Enterprises have IT support available 24×7, whether onsite or vendor support and in such an environment, battery replacement is not a big issue even with the current crop of Tablets. However, for the consumer market this can be an appealing differentiator. So, while Dell pitches the Tablet in the enterprise space, it has to really look for better differentiators other than just removable battery. MS Windows 8 will not be a differentiator for too long, as we already see a number of vendors announcing Tablets on this platform. Similarly, enhanced security through Dell-acquired solutions may also not help the Dell XPS to make the grade. But, something that can definitely cut through the clutter is a well thought out set of apps, suitably tweaked for the needs of the corporate user.
- The fifth issue that I would like Dell to address is to have a strong R&D initiative at their Force 10 Centre in Chennai focused on Fibre Optics Networking products and enhancement of the portfolio beyond ethernet-based products.Indiais expected to be a huge consumer of Fibre Optics Networking products in the next few years, particularly in the government space. We already have two mega projects announced to the tune of INR 32,000 Crore – National Knowledge Network (NKN) and Fibre to the Panchayats – with an enormous expected consumption of Fibre Optics Networking products. By conducting R&D inIndia, Dell products may become eligible for Preferential Market Access (PMA) as their local value-add will then clearly exceed the prescribed 30%. So, clearly the Dell Force 10 portfolio needs to be expanded beyond the ethernet portfolio.
I feel if Dell were to consider adopting these solutions, it would significantly help the company position itself as a solutions company with an Indian touch.