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Interview: Bobbi Dangerfield, VP of commercial sales operations, Dell

Bobbi Dangerfield, VP of commercial sales operations, has seen Dell undergo a dramatic transformation since the beginning of her 14-year tenure. From Internet sales on Dell.com reaching $40 million per day in 2000 to Dell officially going private in 2013, Dangerfield has been through it all. Here’s what she hopes Dell will achieve in the future and how she plans to help take the company there.

Q: Where would you like to take Dell?

A: We’re in the middle of accelerating our strategy. We’ve been on this transformational journey for five years. We’re in a place right now where we’ve got a lot of the foundational elements in place. I think going private helps us make those investments in a way that [allows us to] pay more attention to the longer term.

Q: What are Dell’s biggest strategic investments?

A: We have a lot of work to do around simplification. One of the things that we’ve simplified for our customers is offering Smart Selection products. We started this in our client technology space (desktops, notebooks, and tablets). This is the ability to offer fixed configurations….

We have a lot of data on what people are buying. We know that 80% of the stuff that they’re buying is pretty standard. [We can focus on that] instead of having a million different skews and parts, which adds a ton of complexity to your business. When you have that much complexity, you have a lot of opportunity for errors. You run out of parts [and] it might take longer to deliver. Now with Smart Selection we carry inventory [and] we can deliver within 24 hours at a better price for the customer.

We started that in our client space. That notion will expand across our product line. Over time you’ll see that come with servers and storage and other solutions. E-support is another area. Rather than having to pick up the phone and call somebody, you can actually go online and have access to the same knowledge bases that our tech support team has access to.

Q: Do you think that there have been any misconceptions around the privatization?

A: Michael [Dell] has always said that this is all about accelerating the strategy so we can deliver more effectively for our customers. There certainly was a lot of noise…that did create [a sense of] “Why the heck are they doing this?” But the customers that I’ve visited with, which are pretty numerous, and Michael’s stories are all kind of the same. A lot of them say, “Good for you for having the courage to take the step and do that.” That’s really been the resounding commentary that we’re hearing.

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