1. Tablets? No Thanks.Dell offered up the Streak tablet in 2010. The company hoped that it would be its answer to the iPad. The only issue was that it wasn’t in any way. Instead, it delivered a five-inch display with an outdated version of Android that scared consumers and enterprise customers away. It was a mistake all around. And it hurt its standing with corporate customers.
2. SmartphonesThe smartphone market is central to the decision-making of IT professionals. And yet, Dell hasn’t proven that it knows what it’s doing. In fact, the company’s Aero smartphone failed in almost every way at proving that the PC maker knew what either consumers or enterprise customers were really looking for in a smartphone. It was an issue. And it’s something that it needs to overcome in 2011.
3. The Focus Is All WrongIt seems that as of now, Dell doesn’t have much focus. The company is on one hand, offering computers, and on the other, it’s selling smartphones and tablets. And along the way, it tried to acquire storage company 3PAR to no avail earlier this year. It simply couldn’t find what it really wanted to do. And in the process, it failed to appeal to the enterprise as much as it could have.
4. Forgetting PC ValueWhen enterprise PCs are compared today, one thing becomes abundantly clear: HP and Lenovo are leading that market. Admittedly, Dell is still doing relatively well in the enterprise when it comes to computing, but the company is still far behind HP, and as many companies would agree, fails to deliver a Lenovo-like experience to corporate customers. Luckily for Dell, it has the name-recognition to quickly change that, but it needs to do so quickly.
5. Playing the Apple GameDoes Dell want to be Apple or HP? For now, it’s tough to tell. The company seems to want to be both, but as HP has shown with its continued success from year to year, that’s very difficult to do. The consumer space that Apple caters to and the enterprise market that Dell should be capitalizing on are simply too different for a company with poor focus to perform well in. That’s something Dell must keep in mind.
6. Allowing Michael Dell to Continue OnMichael Dell is well-respected for what he accomplished in the computing space. He built a business against the odds and he distinguished himself in the industry. But that doesn’t mean that he can solve every issue that Dell might have. The tech world is much different than it was when Dell first founded his company. And the longer he leads Dell, the harder it will be for the company to compete in the hotly contested market it finds itself in.
7. Letting HP WinSome say that Dell might have won by losing 3PAR to HP, since it pushed the bidding price so high. But in retrospect, it’s clear now that the company might have actually lost. Not only did it not get 3PAR, but it failed to deliver more value to enterprise customers with an alternative of its own. Of course, it might have some plans up its sleeve for next year, but at least for now, Dell allowing HP to win for 3PAR seems like a major blunder.
8. Patience Is EverythingAs mentioned, Dell delivered extremely undesirable mobile devices to customers this year. And along the way, it proved that it doesn’t have the patience it needs to wait for the right operating system for its products. As LG, Acer, and so many other companies have proven, waiting for the right moment to offer up a tablet, for example, is integral to success in that space. They all acknowledged that waiting until next year is the smart move. Meanwhile, smartphone vendors realized that waiting for Android 2.2 was best. Simply put, Dell seemed to forget that patience is everything in the tech space, and in the process, it lost its way in the enterprise.
9. Value, Value, ValueIf there is anything that Dell should know after all these years catering to corporate customers, it’s that value is everything. And yet, the company seemed to forget that in 2010. It allowed its consumer exploits to get the better of its decision-making. It also forgot to focus more of its efforts on enterprise value. Luckily, 2011 is a whole new year for Dell. But it needs to remember that value is extremely important in the enterprise.
10. The Mark Hurd EffectEven though he is no longer at HP, it’s clear now that Mark Hurd had a huge impact on Dell’s operation. Hurd was known to sit in on sales meetings; he also spent time working with VARs to ensure they were getting what they needed out of HP. Most importantly, he improved his company’s standing in the enterprise to the detriment of Dell. It was an issue. And it’s something that Dell is still trying to recover from.