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Interesting. This post, in fact, have predicted Dell is going to unbunding their business with their recent announcement of reducing their manufacturing workforce in Malaysia.

Dominique Hind

Dell have undergone a massive change in their marketing activity over the last three years. It focuses on engaging customers to generate product innovation and providing deep customer service and relationship management. Two of the suggested three business focuses mentioned above.

I am fascinated by Dell's change in marketing approach and have done an analysis (and presentation) of their journey over the last three years - http://dominiquehind.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/dells-journey-to-listening-ideastorm/

I'm interested in people's views of how this impacts the Dell business and its focus.

Karthik Chandramouli

Dell is not Lean and never has been, although the layperson who does not understand manufacturing or supply chain may view it that way.

Read this blog entry to understand what the Lean community thinks of Dell:


And my cross-post comment:


There may well be a trend towards unbundling, but the false dichotomy between "infrastructure" and "innovation" and "customer" businesses is a fallacy that belies the reality of successful companies that can balance the trade-offs to do all three.

One domain may be a primary core competence but it is not reasonable to expect companies who only do one thing well to be successful over the long term.

Perhaps we are entering an era in which companies do not survive for decades or even centuries, and will be short-lived successes at one of the three domains.

But I struggle to reconcile this thesis (and, like Michael Treacy's before it) with the reality of companies like Toyota that have proven their ability to transcend all three domains effectively, using a strong base in one area to launch into the others.

Business reality defies simplistic categorization that fits into nice, neat four-quadrant charts on a PowerPoint slide...

kid mercury

@tommi, i would think google is an infrastructure business, or will increasingly go in that direction

killer post, john. the unbundling stuff will become even more important as the economy goes to hell and forces businesses to become leaner and more efficient. everybody needs to get john's book "out of the box," still immensely relevant today.

Tommi Vilkamo

# Infrastructure management
# Product innovation and commercialization
# Customer relationship

Intuitively, I like this categorization. However, I guess are anomalies... For example, to which business would you classify Google?

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