Q/ Digitalisation is on an overdrive. What kind of spike did you see in the business in the past couple of years?
A/ The PC market itself has gone through an amazing growth trajectory over the last 18 to 24 months. If you look at the last published data, the India PC market actually shipped around 4.3 million units only in calendar Q1 of 2022. If you compare that in terms of just growth rates, the commercial PC segment within that actually year on year, over year terms grew more than 40 per cent. All this clearly indicates that as a result of the new ways of working and what is happening externally in terms of what the pandemic brought upon, the demand within the PC market has been very strong. This is going to continue to stay strong. The hybrid way of working is here to stay, which means companies will have to do a refresh of their existing installed base, which obviously is going to come up. And more importantly, they will need to think about how they continue to support a growing workforce with the latest solutions that are being offered. And employees are also asking for that. And if you look at the B2C side, even remote learning or what we call learn from home or learn from anywhere is also going to drive PC demand. So, there are clear opportunities that are going to drive demand as we look into the future.
Companies had to accelerate the pace at which they look at digitising their core business, and when they want to go about doing it, the first place to start about it is how are you looking at your workforce and the employees and driving a workforce transformation agenda within that. Primarily that has to do with the fact that today a lot of decision-making happens at the end point rate closer to where the data is generated, which means the PC or in broader terms, the end point, and how powerful, productive, secure the end point is, is paramount. And since the pace of digitalisation involves how companies leverage the power of data to bring new business models, embrace online as a route to market to take products and services. I think the demand around the end point is going to be very strong, and to enable the lifestyle that needs to be offered to their employees has to be flexible. And all of this means that business laptops will need to evolve a lot.
So, there are clear indicators, both from outside demand drivers as well as within organisations, since the pace of digitisation and digital transformation is going to increase. I think business laptops will be at the core of driving transformation. Like I said, you need to keep user experience as one of your key pillars within digital transformation. The second aspect is how you manage device lifecycle, and how you automate tasks so that teams can effectively manage the sprawl of devices. And the other aspect is securing the endpoint through the right tools. The PC market in general is going to be fairly strong across most geographies, specifically in India.
Q/ With every computer getting thinner and more powerful, the segregation between laptops has been merging. How do you see that?
A/ Maybe eight to nine years ago, a business laptop was largely considered to be a robust machine, which will be a workhorse. Most models that were available were mainstream models. While those are powerful machines and secure, aesthetics was probably second priority. But today when you look at mainstream notebooks, things are different. What we are bringing to the market are largely thin and light devices across the portfolio. We have aspired to make devices thin and light, without compromising on the processor or key productivity drivers. And that endeavour will continue. Users want the best of both worlds. Hence the lines have really blurred.
Q/ The PC market has been a playground of three major players and a few smaller ones, but that is changing. How do you see that?
A/ The market is definitely growing significantly. So, it is natural that in a market like this, you will have new entrants, but the way we look at this is, it's a great opportunity for a company like Dell, which has got customer centricity as its core. More importantly, we have some of the most innovative products to continue to grow in a market. I think it's a pretty exciting space for companies like Dell, but at the same time, yes, there are going to be new entrants in the market.
Q/ Smartphones have evolved as effective and convenient business tools. What kind of impact does it have on the business laptop segment?
A/ Smartphones brought in a lot of innovations in the past decade. But the pace of innovation within laptops has actually caught up. I think laptops have actually made more significant strides. For example, just the form factor itself. Most of the mainstream laptops start at 13 inches. For business customers, there is a need for an endpoint to be powerful and give good front screen experience. The pace of innovation has actually accelerated a lot. And with work from anywhere being one of the primary drivers within, the needs of this particular sector are best met by business laptops. They come with the best features, not just from a hardware perspective, across manageability and security.
Q/ What are the technologies that you think would change the future of computing?
A/ I think sustainability, intelligence and security will be key. To give you an example, at the core of every Dell commercial PC today, you have an AI based software called Dell optimiser. It makes your PC intelligent, or it understands the user's work profile, and it allocates system resources to improve the performance of the PC. Specifically, it can automatically improve the application performance. It can optimise battery, run, time, audio settings, and also two new privacy features that we introduced in this generation. Then privacy features like onlooker detection and look away detect and save screen. You have a facility where from the factory, the PC can be shipped fully configured, with all the custom applications that various organisations want and get delivered to employees, doorsteps; all he has to do is switch it on.