Many, many years ago, in my pre-CRM days I worked for the incumbent PC supplier to a very large financial services company. One day alarm bells started to ring. Our customer was evaluating another supplier. We knew where: behind locked doors in the basement. But who, was a mystery. Our polite enquiries were stonewalled. But by using some subterfuge or other we eventually gained access to the test facility, and there on the test benches we saw banks of desk-tops and servers, from a company called….what does that logo say? I can’t quite make it out…. D-E-L-L. Who the heck are they?
In the fullness of time we lost the account to Dell, and in the following years I’ve marveled at the ruthless efficiency of their business model. Machines, only available direct, built to order, payment received up front, no need to carry stock, perfect. They went from Michael Dell’s dorm room to dominate an industry. Even I became a loyal customer.
But acquiring Perot Systems? I can see the logic perhaps. The PC industry is slumping and services suddenly look a very attractive area. But the question is when does a unique position in the market become everyday? I can already buy Dell from PC World, and now they are an outsourcing giant as well? I’m not convinced this is going to work. When you start to look like every other global IT company why should I buy from you and not the others? Sometimes it’s better to understand what you do well and stick to it.