For every company that aspires to be in business for a long time making profit and achieving its targets and goals, change is inevitable. The world around is changing and new things are constantly coming up, it is therefore essential that a company changes too. Relevance in the market can only be achieved through change. There are several things that a company can change so as to remain viable; one of them is changing the embedded tensions and paradoxes about the operations. The other is being able to invest in other company capabilities (Ready, 2016). The DELL computer company needs to change its focus from too much hardware and little software to a balance of hardware and software development because such a change will help the company counter competition from its rival; the hp, Lenovo and apple computer companies.
The DELL computer company is a computer company with its headquarters in the Round Rock, Texas. The DELL company develops, sells and computers as well as providing support such as software development and maintenance. The company was founded in 1984 by Michael Dell (Vault, 2018) and ever since has continued to provide computer related solutions to the world. Dell largely relies on PC sales to earn its revenue and this contributes to two thirds of the company. Such sales include notebooks, tablets, and desktops sale. Dell company also provides services such as software development but such services only make a very small amount of revenue which amount s to about 2% of the total revenue (Vault, 2018). It is this factor that has seen DELL face competition increase from the likes of hp, Lenovo, apple and Microsoft companies. The competitor companies have invested almost equally in the development of hardware and software as well making them to be above the DELL company. DELL’s other units include the Enterprise solutions group which gives a revenue of about 27%, the DELL services which gives a return of about 5%. The Enterprise unit deals with things such as networking and storage while the DELL services deals with issues such as IT solutions and cloud applications (Vault, 2018).
The DELL company has had challenges to change and become a top notch computer company. The company since becoming a private company in 2013 (Vault, 2018) though the buy-out of shareholders, has struggled and tried to improve and reclaim its position in the world of computers. However, this has not been an easy task especially with the desktop pcs losing popularity so much all over the world. There is now a great need for the company to strategize and change its focus from producing a lot of hardware to increasing its software production rate. The company needs to match its competition and the only way to do it is by change. The competing companies have been able to achieve a better market standing by embracing such change. If the company can increase the ability and maximize the use of its software wing, then it stands a better chance beating off some competition and that means that they will be able to stay in market for long enough. Since 2013 the company has been working to be an all-rounded company providing hardware, software and services. Some of the things that DELL has been able to do is to enroll the digital transformation project, develop data centers for software, provide hybrid cloud services, converge and hyper-converge infrastructure, mobile and security. The DELL company should use the Kotter’s 8 step procedure of change to make sure that the revolution is a success both in the short term and long term.
The Kotter’s 8 steps
- Create a sense of urgency
The first thing that the management needs to do is to create a sense of urgency. This means that they should make sure everyone in the DELL company sees the need to change to producing more software and services and that it is absolutely to effect the change immediately. (Kotter). This is meant to create a sense of responsibility among the staff to salvage the company from failure and to keep the already initiated change continuing. This sense of urgency can be easily created by involving the workers of the company in a discussion about what is happening in the market and with their customers (MindTools). The employees should be able to realize that the demand for pcs has greatly gone down and that the demand for good software is on the constant rise. They should also be in a position to recognize that their close competitors; hp, Lenovo and apple companies have developed a balance in their production and that they have shifted their focus from hardware alone to provision of both hardware and software in almost equal measure. The employees should be in a position to see the numerous opportunities that are attached to the ever dynamic software industry. By engaging the employees in such discussions it is likely that the sense of urgency will grow fueling the already initiated revolution. The sense of urgency among the employees helps the other stakeholders realize that the time for change to be effected is limited (Robert Tanner, 2018).
- Build a guiding coalition
The top management should be in a position to identify the people who are capable of ensuring that the change initiated doesn’t stall and fail (Robert Tanner, 2018). There is need to identify a very team of high efficiency to over-see every step of the change. The team should be in a good position to motivate fellow employees towards the change needed. They should be in a position to influence the workers in the software and services departments to be pro-active in their work. They should increase the creativity of these departments by sourcing information about market gaps and how such gaps can be used in the advantage of DELL computer company. The team should be in good position to challenge the top management to employ more IT personnel who are specialized in software development rather than those specialized in hardware development. This will increase the brain capacity of the software and services department and therefore it will be possible to develop advanced software that will challenge any existing one. The coalition should therefore include key stakeholders and true leaders from different departments. The coalition should be in a position to work as a team and they should suppress their weaknesses as much as possible (MindTools). This diversity will help generate very strong ideas that when put to use will help the DELL company reclaim its spot.
- Form a strategic vision and initiatives
It is absolutely important that the DELL computer company be in a position to develop a strategy that helps it to keep going forward with the change. Such is a vision of change. When the employees have something that they look at, they are likely to work well towards it. It is essential that the coalition build is able to describe such a vision very clearly. The DELL company may have a vision such as becoming a leading hardware and software company in the next few years. It is important to develop core values towards change (MindTools). It is important that the employees see the future as a different thing from the past and the present through the vision (Kotter). The vision will also help the leaders determine whether the change is being achieved through a developed measure of success (Robert Tanner, 2018). The DELL company may use customer reviews on their software and services to determine whether they are doing any better than their competitors. Such an initiative is also useful in the fixing of bugs in such software and also it provides a good insight as to what customers want.
- Enlist a volunteer army
There can only be effective change if the company as a whole is for the common goal of change (Kotter). The DELL company should therefore make sure that the coalition is influencing all the staff to work towards the revolution including those that work in the hardware departments. The change should not be something that is forced on people rather it should be something that they want to do. This can only be achieved by clearly communicating the vision to every stakeholders and making sure that they own it. The vision should be used in every instance possible (MindTools). The DELL company should be in a good position to solve problems internally and those regarding customers with reference to the vision of becoming a leading software and hardware producer.
- Enable action by removing barriers
Every new wave must face resistance. It is very important to make sure that such resistance doesn’t stop the company from achieving its goal. Not everyone will agree to the vision of change. Especially those working in the hardware section might feel threatened by such changes since they will fear being laid off. The DELL company should identify the leaders who will strongly support the change. Such leaders will be instrumental in helping those who are resisting the change see that they will equally benefit from the change. If these employees don’t react positively, they might as well get laid off for the good of the entire process. If they take it positively then they should be helped to be part of the whole process by going through training. The structure of the company too should be adjusted accordingly to ensure that it is in line with the vision. The management of the DELL company should also hire additional skilled software developers who will make sure that the barrier of few skilled personnel is not a hindrance towards achieving the vision.
- Generate short-term wins
The vision should not only provide for long term success but also short-term success. Achieving great things in a short time is the greatest motivation towards effecting the change to the end (MindTools). People want to see what they are working so hard for. The management should be in a position to establish short term goals that are meant to build on the main target and the management should reward those who achieve this goals. Such goals should not be expensive as it might delay the achievement of the main goal. This short-term goals despite not being expensive have a fairly low chance of failure compared to the long-term goals. These wins must be also communicated early and often to motivate the employees to keep pressing hard (Kotter). These wins should also be very closely tied to the main change being effected. The DELL company should establish short-term goals such as minor upgrades to already developed software. This will help build on the main goal of producing competitive software.
- Sustain acceleration
It is essential that the company is able to sustain the wave of change by making sure that the change doesn’t chock the operations of the company. The top leadership and the coalition should make sure that the company doesn’t go back to the old days and that it is able to tackle the resistance to the change (Robert Tanner, 2018). The DELL company should be in a position to ensure that it doesn’t fail in software development and slide back to just developing hardware and very of software development. The company should press harder now that it has realized the success in maintaining a balance software and hardware production. The change should continue until the vision is achieved. The company should be careful to analyze every win and to use it to build on the next move. There should be constant but reasonable changes in the coalition to ensure that the best ideas are tabled and that they are implemented.
- Institute change
It is then very important to make the change stick (MindTools). It is important that such change becomes part of the culture of the company. This will motivate new and already existing employees to work tirelessly towards that change as it’s a way of the company. The DELL company should establish the change of venturing into more software development as a culture. This will also make a good impact in the market. The company should be in a position to relate its recent success to the wave of change and therefore make it continue until all the old operations are replaced by the new ones (Kotter). Such activities are largely influenced by the top management and the leading coalition hence they should be in a position to create a lasting impact in the revolution of the DELL company from a hardware specialized company to an all-rounded company.
The DELL computer company needs to change its focus from too much hardware and little software to a balance of hardware and software development because such a change will help the company counter competition from its rival; the hp, Lenovo and apple computer companies. It is evident that change is inevitable, however, it is critical that change be handled with a lot of care so as to ensure that the company remains in business but not force itself out of business completely. The Kotter’s 8-step process is a very good way of making sure that the needed change is realized and that it is sustainable. It should be noted that change is a journey and that every step counts on whether the dream will be realized or not.
Kotter. (n.d.). Kotter. Retrieved from 8-step process: www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/
MindTools. (n.d.). MindTools. Retrieved from Kotter’s 8-step change model: www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.html
Ready, D. A. (2016). Havard Business review. Retrieved from 4 things successful change leaders do well: hbr.org/2016/01/4-things-successful-change-leaders-do-well
Robert Tanner, M. (2018). Kotter’s eight step leading change model. Retrieved from management is a journey: managementisajourney.com/summary-of-kotters-eight-step-leading-change-model/
Vault. (2018). vault. Retrieved from Dell Inc. at a glance: www.vault.com/company-profile/computer-hardware/dell-inc/company-overview