'Privatisation won't diminish openness with customers', says Michael Dell

Dell has promised customers that its transition to becoming a privately owned company will not impact its openness as it attempts to reinvent its businness to meet shifting industry demands.

Dell became a private firm earlier this year following a $25 billion buyout deal which saw CEO Michael Dell take over control of the firm he originally founded with help from financial backers. As a result, the company will now be under less obligation to make public disclosures around its finances, and will no longer be impacted by shareholder opinion.

Speaking during a press conference as part of Dell World 2013 in Texas, Dell said that the privatisation would not impact its openness, and would instead allow it to be more forthright with customers over plans to accelerate its transition to growth based on enterprise services.

"I don't think the conversation with the customer has in any way diminished, I think it has in fact enhanced because we can fuller disclose things that might have been a problem with selected disclosure and those kinds of issues," he said. "It allows us to have a more frank dialogue."

Meanwhile Dell CFO Brian Gladden said that operating as a private company will offer more agility compared to its past as a publicly owned entity, allowing long term strategies to be put in place even if they impact profits in the short term.

"Having owners that are fully aligned with our strategy and believe in where we are headed is a huge benefit for us, and it takes out a lot of churn and time in the organisation that we spent dealing with the different ownership case," he said.

"We can be more longer-term oriented, we can invest more aggressively for the future, we can drive multi year initiatives and we can be less distracted by the quarterly rhythms and commitments that clogged the system in the past.

"Some of the areas of strategic investment will put short term pressure on the PNL [profit and loss]. We are okay with that. These are areas that would have been challenging to invest in a public company setting."

Dell made a large number of announcements aimed at improving its enterprise services offering at the Dell World event, including numerous cloud partnerships to support its cloud management offerings based on its Enstratius acquisition, updates to data centre infrastructure, new mobile device management solutions and a $300 million startup investment fund.

However, despite optimism from customers around the privatisation, some voiced concerns over the possibility of significant strategic changes in future.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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