Private Power: Michael Dell Talks Growth, Investments And The Future

Driving Dell

Speaking at Ingram Micro's inaugural IMOne event in New Orleans, Dell CEO Michael Dell talked about the benefits of being a private company as well as the growth for Dell's channel business. He also talked about the hot technology areas for his company and explained why he thinks the vendor market is headed for more consolidation. Here are excerpts from Michael Dell's keynote.

Being Private

"Going private has really enabled us to be bold and be aggressive and focus much on the long term and our future. So we're investing heavily in research and development and expanding our offerings and continuing to build out our solutions. Certainly, expanding our partner program has been a big part of that. We've had tremendous growth [there]."

"When I look at the future road map of what we have planned in our enterprise portfolio, our software portfolio, client, security and all of our solutions, going private helps us be very aggressive and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunities it creates for us and for customers and partners."

Future Investments

"When you start a company, you have a sense of responsibility. As a private company, we can invest more with a longer-term horizon. A few weeks ago, we did yet another acquisition of a company called StatSoft in the predictive analytics area to help with the big data economy. In the last six or seven years, we've acquired about 40 companies. Those 40 companies themselves had acquired about 150 companies. So we've been really changing our business quite considerably in the direction of end-to-end solutions. And this is enabling our partners and our customers to solve the bigger problems and access what we see as a $3 trillion market space for IT. And we think that $3 trillion is going to grow to $4 trillion with the big data economy."

Technology Focus Areas

"What we see are really four major areas that are driving customer behavior," Dell said. "Transform, inform, connect and protect."

Transform, Dell said, is about making business environments more agile and flexible, either with cloud and software-defined networking or other new technologies. Inform is about finding ways to better analyze and use the massive amounts of data being generated. Connect is about extending Internet connectivity to new mobile devices and smart products. And protect is about securing all of those things from malware and hacker threats.

Market Consolidation

"I also think the market is consolidating. I don't think you're going to have as many companies out there. If you look at the data center, I think the silos are going to disappear. I think you're going to see networking, servers and storage come together, and that's going to free up some of the latent capacity that sits in some of the silos."

Mobility And Smartphones

"We're absolutely in enterprise mobility management. We have a suite to help your customers secure and protect their information on those devices, whatever they may be. And there are plenty of them out there. But we don't see a lot of new companies getting into the smartphone business, so that's not really a focus for us. But tablets absolutely are.

Tablet Growth

Our tablet business doubled in the first to the second quarter last year, and it doubled again from the second to the third, and then from the third to fourth quarter it tripled in size. Windows tablets and Android tablets are the fastest-growing categories. That's where we're playing, and we're playing to win."

Being Partner-Focused

Going back seven years ago [when Dell's partner program was first introduced], we said two things. First, we said we come in peace. And second, we said this is not an experiment. And I think what we showed over that seven years is a real commitment, consistency and predictability. And I think that's been rewarded with a very strong and robust growth.

Advice For Business Owners

I think you have to be thinking about staying relevant. And, certainly, being in this business long enough, value continues to shift. You have to be constantly thinking about the problems that the customer has and how you're going to go solve it. Doing the things you did two years ago? That's not going to cut it. That's what you're seeing with successful solution providers out there. They're evolving as customer needs evolve.

Security Surge

Security is extremely hot right now. Here's an interesting statistic. SecureWorks, when we acquired them [in 2011], saw about 8 billion security events per day. We now see about 80 billion per day. It's just a staggering number. Going deep in security gives us and gives our partners the capability to stay relevant around challenges that are very important to customers.

Hardware Commitment

"Dell continues to have a very competitive supply chain. And we're absolutely going to stay in the hardware business. And I think not all of the guys out there are in it for the duration like we are. And we're going to continue with that, now even more aggressively, as a private enterprise."