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We are #1 in healthcare IT globally: Michael Dell

Josey Puliyenthuruthel and Rahul Sachitanand     April 13, 2011
Michael Dell has visited India at least once a year for the past decade.  He caught up with BT's Josey Puliyenthuruthel and Rahul Sachitanand in Delhi on his last trip. Edited excerpts.

Our customers wanted to go beyond shiny boxes, to services and solutions. We would show up at a customer and say, "hey, we have this new box…." The customer would say, "I really don't care. I want a new ERP system, I want to make my supply chain work better. If you don't know about that then don't talk to me." (To address) this demands a lot more vertical expertise.  

We hired Steve Schuckenbrock, the former Co-COO of EDS, to build our services business. We have made eight acquisitions in the past year, including Perot Systems. We have won a large number of contracts where Dell was previously providing only hardware or where we had not done anything. The important thing for us is to shift capability and mindset. This transition is not a one or two quarter event.  

We are #1 in healthcare IT globally. We acquired a company called InSite One, the leader in cloud-based archiving of medical images. We have taken that expertise all the way back to our product groups and created new offerings. IT in the healthcare industry is siloed. The CIO can't make them work together. We have created vendor-neutral archives by speaking to medical equipment makers. We capture all the data and store locally or in our cloud archive.

Data centres are a big focus area. We sold 15 million servers in the past decade, which is a nice place to start. We have been building on that in storage and networking with a number of new capabilities with our EqualLogic and Compellent deals.

We don't have a legacy to protect in services.
Unlike our rivals who have mainframe and Unix, we are open, capable and affordable. This means we look for inflection points that create value for customers, like virtualisation and cloud computing and other ingredient technology that makes it easy to adopt innovations such as iSCSI or internet small computer system interface storage and data duplication.

Dell today is a very different company than Dell five years ago. Two-thirds of our margins and profits come from the non-PC business. There has been a shift to servers, stage, networked services. Storage is a great example We have 50 per cent share in iSCSI storage, which is the fastest growing  part of enterprise storage. We acquired a firm that leads in data tiering. We will build or acquire these companies. For example, we acquired a firm called KACE, which provides system management tools. Today, that unit is four times its size when we bought it in February 2010.

Apple has done well, but we're big fans of Android. It is fascinating to see how it is now outselling the iPhone, which was unthinkable a year ago. We will see similar things with android Honeycomb. We're playing there too, but the core of our business is focused on enterprise business solutions. Consumer electronics is a relatively small portion of the $1.8 billion global technology industry.

There's a bit of cloud washing going on-everyone wants to have cloud.
Cloud computing is at an embryonic stage and one should be cautious on what we talk about. There's clearly value that can happen, but not everything is a cloud.

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