Dell beefs up workforce in India

* Dell adds staff to its India-based call center and development units

Last month, Dell announced plans to add 2,000 more employees to its current India-based workforce of between 7,000 and 8,000 (must be nice when you have so many employees you're not sure how many work in a branch office, huh?). You can read the news story in the related links below.

The majority of those employees will enhance call-center operations, although Dell will also add staff to its software development operations office in India as well. The company maintains three customer-care centers: one in Mohali, another in Bangalore and the third in Hyderabad. Enterprise server and software development operations are based in Bangalore.

There are two interesting elements in this move:

1) Dell says that 55% of its future growth will happen outside the U.S. As with any multinational firm, Dell leaders know that it is not wise or possible to manage foreign offices with U.S. management techniques and philosophies. It doesn't work. We all remember the famous story about Kentucky Fried Chicken insisting that its Japanese operations director step up fried chicken sales, when the Japanese were hungry for fried fish instead. This is an astute move on Dell's part to recognize that multinational operations happen outside U.S. boundaries.

2) Dell initially received complaints about its Indian call-center operations, but tracked the problem down to a lack of awareness about the product suite, rather than taking the easy road and saying that the problem had to do with a cultural barrier. Indians are very smart people, they're hard workers and technology is innately intuitive to them. But when a U.S. company comes onto your soil and says "Here! Start supporting these computers," without sufficient background information to manage the support, it's difficult for people to be successful.

Dell has said its research shows the preponderance of its future sales will arise out of Asia, Japan and Europe (more so than U.S. sales). So the Indian decision is a solid one - the infrastructure is there to support a significant Dell ramp-up in operations throughout the European and Asian theaters, and plentiful technological support is available.

Dell has also changed the corporate philosophy somewhat from being simply a computer company to an IT supply and managed services organization. While this certainly enhances sales, I tend to read this as "What does Dell want to be when it grows up?"

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about Dell's commitment to Indian business development and enhancement of its offshoring efforts. Has the company gone off course? Would you make the same decision if you were the CEO of the Round Rock, Texas, company?

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Dell adding 2,000 more staff in India

IDG News Service, 04/29/05

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