Michael Dell spent an hour and a half on the phone yesterday with Wall Street analysts outlining his plan to put Dell back on track. It was Dell’s first strategy call since it resolved the accounting problems that forced it to run on radio silence for more than a year, so analysts jumped at the chance to re-connect.
Dell’s new strategy is to "simplify IT" while focusing on on five key areas: Consumers, emerging markets, notebooks, big companies, and small and medium businesses.
Dell went on to outline specific initiatives in each of these broad areas – a new emphasis on design in notebooks; a continued focus on finding new ways to let consumers "see, touch and feel" Dell computers before buying them; and a focus on new devices specifically designed for small businesses, for example.
While Mr Dell was keen to outline his plans for the company, he avoided getting into specifics of how those plans are unfolding thus far. For example, when asked about the progress of Dell’s retail push – a fair question given the fact that the introduction of Dell computers into Wal-Mart and other retail stores seems to have done little to revive the company’s flagging US consumer sales – Mr Dell dodged the question by reciting a list of previously announced retail partnerships.
After more than two years of struggles, investors will no doubt be glad to hear that Dell has begun to identify possible solutions to some of the problems facing its business model. Still, they could be forgiven for hoping for a clearer picture of the progress that has been made to date.