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My Thoughts on Dell’s Analyst Meeting

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Those of you who read news about Dell have seen some of the reactions to our Analyst Meeting that happened last week. Dell hosted  over 150 analysts and investors to discuss many aspects of Dell’s business. We also hosted a webcast where you can check out the Wednesday sessions in their entirety. If you’re looking for a shorter summary, here’s Rob Williams summary of it.

The overall reaction what Dell executives discussed was pretty positive. Stories like those from the Austin American-Statesman offer a good overall view, and CNBC featured an exclusive video interview with Michael Dell where he covered lots of ground. Rob Enderle got it right when he said Dell is not trying to be Apple. And we’re not trying to be HP or IBM for that matter either.

So what does that leave Dell? We’re putting a lot of focus on Dell’s transition from a hardware provider to a solutions one, a topic I blogged about not long ago. In my view, there were some pretty obvious themes: Dell’s continued transition from a hardware provider to a solutions one and that we will continue to focus on mid-market opportunities for those solutions and services.

Timothy Prickett Morgan’s story is a good overview of the mid-market discussion, and all three stories highlighted in the image below discuss what the mid-market discussion is all about. Dell has been focused on building solutions that are useful to a wide range of companies. Michael and other executives explained that we can start with medium size businesses in many markets and scale many of our capabilities into larger customers through a mix of hardware, software and services. Click on the image below to see the latest stories about Dell's focus on mid-markets:

Mid-market stories - 2011 Dell Analyst Meeting

Dell has acquired 11 companies over the last three years. And like I mentioned in my previous post, many of these acquisitions have been integral to building solutions to solve unique business problems. These solutions are many time a mix between hardware, software and services. Right now, storage is the most obvious place to see this in action: acquisitions like EqualLogic and Compellent augment Dell’s existing storage business to give us capability to serve a wide range of customers with Dell-owned IP. Other acquisitions allow us to build on existing investments and capabilities into other strategic areas like cloud and data management, virtualization, security, systems management and beyond.

Beyond sessions with Dell executives, Dell CMO Karen Quintos hosted a customer panel featuring Claus Moldt, CIO/SVP of Services Delivery for Salesforce.com, Brad Thompson, IT Infrastructure Engineering Director for Target, Aaron Beasecker, IT VP for Lopez Foods, and Becky Sykes, CIO/SVP for Catholic Health Partners. These customers shared perspective about how Dell helps solve business problems in a way that other companies can’t.  One interesting note is that all four customers called out security as a very important issue. You can view the customer panel at about the 3 hour 32 minute mark in the video webcast.

I got to assist the PR team in some social media efforts during the Analyst Meeting. They were pretty active on @DellShares and also posted each of our Executive presentations. I'm having some trouble embedding SlideShare presentations in the post, so if you want to check them out, you can either go to the Dell Slideshare account, or you can click on the icon below to download the entire set of slides as a PDF from Dell.com/investor.

2011 Dell Analyst Meeting -combined deck

All in all, I’m glad to be part of a company that is moving in the right direction. No question we’re still in the midst of making the transition to a solutions provider—or changing the discussion with customers from hardware to a solutions service story as Michael says it. But in my view, (and judging from the reactions from analysts and reporters who attended the Analyst Meeting), we are making the right investments to move things forward.

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