IdeaStorm - sinking Dell's ship ?

give us free software !

Following on from my previous article on Dell’s IdeaStorm I thought it would be a good idea to take a quick view now the service has been up and running to see what the main topics and requests were.

Maybe not what Dell was looking for ?

I mentioned in my post about Henry Ford highlighting if he actually listened to what people wanted, we would all now be using super charged horses ( all in black? ) along with a different kind of emissions problem on the streets.

Dell’s ‘ faster horse ‘ is in fact
Linux and OpenOffice - a seeming dilemma for the hardware manufacturer ?

By opening itself fully to the Blogging community within the Dell brand it now has a direct responsibility to act on the wishes – what do you do though when these may not be within the companies strategy ?

The suggestion of setting up a blog community within an existing portal / community which was markedly separate from Dell could have provided a solution. By utilizing key trusted employees participation it could have fulfilled it’s wish to take on board feedback, without actually directly associating the entire brand to the exercise as it has now.

Down side – you could perceivably not get the real voice of the man in the street - by placing the blog directly within the Dell site they would have felt the view would be less of the hardcore IT crowd ( as Linux is still regarded as non mainstream for desktops at least ) who would generally populate these technology forums.

Ignorance is bliss

If Dell had decided to ignore the very public voice of customer then it could have be accused of not listening – in a stroke creating a negative feeling in this highly vocal community.

Engaging tools such as blogs and social networking sites which very openly give your customer base a voice requires thought - especially when you very publicly announce their existence.

Thought that Dell has obviously considered thorough the release last month of the N-Seris which comes ‘ Windows free ‘.

Was this a direct result of customer feedback – who knows, but in one fail swoop they have achieved something truly brilliant or a Perfect Storm ?


Dell 5 years ago experimented by offering flavors of Linux with it’s hardware – it discontinued due to the cost of installation - this time the offer is slightly different and is based on ' true ' demand - interesting to see the sales figures for these in 6 months - is the offer of Windows free system enough - or do people truly want it preinstalled.

With the changes in management over the past 18 months it needs to keep a focus – shipping Linux and Open source is not ideal , especially when your focus is on margins and profit ( something manufacturing a PC these does not readily produce ) for the additional items upsold during the transaction.

Has Dell done the right thing here ? Should Dell listen to it’s audience ? Is this an ideal opportunity for some Guerilla marketing by it’s competitors to increase there sales on the back of this ?


Nicholas said...

What are you talking about? If there are crappy programs that get installed on windows then why can't crappy programs be written for GNU/Linux to achieve the same results? The options for supporting GNU/Linux are even more endless and full of potential, but to less flexible minds only what is lost is focused on. Think about this, Dell could embrace this new model with a plethora of options. As one example, they could continue with their systems, and have a feedback/rating system for the GNU/Linux *NIX and BSD variants that users have tried, the version, and their varying success, so let the hardcore geeks and nerds, like myself, test the hardware, and have the customers report how thier chosen OS compares, for the systems that are supported well, dell could shortly after offer the OS alternatives that are proven by the community to work well with that specific hardware, and spend minimal effort in testing the combination.

Trevor Attridge said...

From Dell perspective they make minimal margins of equipment - their profits also consist sales, kick backs and bonuses from software vendors. With Linux this would be more limited - how then should it maintain it's margins while severing customers who seek alternative O/S platforms ? Dell also undertakes responsibility to ensure there system operate ( i.e they provide a helpdesk / web ) will this additional burden of variants result in poor customer service - or do you link the community approach you mention will really be enough ?