Most companies today are merging business solutions with technologies like cloud computing with concepts of social networking. Social networking services have provided Dell with a platform to cultivate social relations and networks. This has been done through sharing activities, interests, real-life connections, and backgrounds. LinkedIn as a network service has helped Dell to create some kind of public profile with a users’ list. Just like other network services, LinkedIn is web-based. It provides social interaction through the intent using instant messaging and e-mail. Dell’s online community is able to access pictures, activities, posts, interests, events, and ideas (Holzner 2006).
Current report will evaluate the use of networking by Dell. It will seek to address two issues, that are, structure and effectiveness. In terms of structure, this paper will analyze the kind of organization, type and level of interactions- collaborative or hierarchical relationships and the extent to which this structure reflects its purpose. Moreover, this paper will examine how decisions are made. Secondly, this report will analyze how LinkedIn as a social network has been effective in terms of addressing the objectives set out by Dell. Lastly, this paper will mention the limitations of LinkedIn as a network.
LinkedIn is a networking site for businesses in the spheres of advertising and marketing. There is no doubt that indeed LinkedIn has evolved into a big success factor for Dell as an organization. While other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook may be beneficial, the creation of LinkedIn had in mind business professionals. The evolution of LinkedIn over the past few years has enabled Dell to interact and make connections with viable and prospective customers and clients. This has been happening through promotion of Dell products and services. Dell has been able to develop interactive communities, which connect people by sharing business experiences and needs.
Dell is a privately owned American multinational computer technologies company founded by Michael Dell. It is located at Round Rock in Texas. It sells, develops, supports and repairs computers as well as other related services and products. The wide customer base all over the world has motivated the use of LinkedIn as a social networking site. It is one of the biggest technological corporations globally employing over 103,300 people. Through LinkedIn, Dell has been able to sell personal computers, network switches, servers, computer peripherals, MP3 players, printers, cameras, and HDTVs. This has made Dell the third largest personal computer vendor in the entire world after Lenovo and HP.
Dell uses LinkedIn in its collaborative and hierarchical interactions. Dell has been able to get more leads and traffic from LinkedIn. Experian Marketing Services points out that LinkedIn got 94 million visits in the U.S. in December 2012 only. This represented a 40% increase, compared to the same time period in the previous year. Dell is both a Business-to-Business (B2B) and a Business-to-Company (B2C). Collaboratively, leveraging LinkedIn has enabled Dell find, as well as attract, its target market. Dell has been able to get high quality traffic and leads through its LinkedIn public profile. This has been through the addition of custom banners to the Dell company page. These banners have enabled Dell get links back to its site free on the products and services section. This has enabled Dell meet prospective clients who contact them by simply clicking on the link (Dell & Fredman 1999).
Moreover, Dell has been able to use product banners to share new-fangled case studies, link and promote upcoming webinars, point out customer testimonials, and promote videos about famous blog posts. LinkedIn has enabled Dell to reach its target audience through tailoring their status updates in manner to fit LinkedIn connections based on job function, seniority, and industry. This way, Dell can be more effective by attaching pictures or files to the status updates. Through this avenue, Dell can target its audience for any offer such as non-employees.
Also, Dell’s commitment is to build a diverse and strong environment that is representative of the global marketplace. To engage integral market segments, Dell aims at advancing their inclusion activities and global diversity. To engage all the team members hierarchically, Dell believes that it is important to leverage all the differences and similarities. Moreover, Dell creates beneficial partnerships targeting professional development, community groups, multicultural business, and national civic businesses in advancing their workplace diversity. Dell fosters a culture that allows employees to be proud and confident that they carry out their responsibilities ethically and legally. Using LinkedIn, Dell has been able to involve the entire workforce in its development plan (Peacock 2010).
The hierarchy of Dell aims at delegating daily decision-making to employees. These employees have adequate facts to enable them provide excellent customer services. Dell embraces a neoclassical business design. Its Board of Directors has five committees to cultivate a functional structure, including grouping employees according to their task performance and common skills. The company has a market structure. This means that market segmentation is important to enable Dell tailor information as a multinational company. Dell has been able to use LinkedIn’s dual-class structure to foster corporate governance. Dell assists drive futuristic industry innovation course that aims at putting the needs of customers first. Its global presence gives it a cutting and innovative edge (Askool, Jacobs & Nakata 2012).
As a growth strategy, Dell focuses on process streamlining where LinkedIn is used as networking service between Dell and its customers. Customers are able to place their orders. Since Dell has adopted a Just-In-Time (JIT) system, delivery of components and parts is done. Moreover, Dell opts for product diversification to assist in business growth. LinkedIn has been used as a market penetration strategy, where it has been able to penetrate international market (Muccio, Burns & Murrah 2009). LinkedIn has enabled Dell create segmentation strategies targeting dissimilar cultures.
Dell aims at customer satisfaction where the customer service is superior and excellent. With LinkedIn, Dell has been able to meet customers’ specifications by addressing their specific requirements through JIT systems. Dell’s employees and management aim to cooperate in order to bolster profitability, as well as achieve job gratification. Networking through LinkedIn has enabled Dell as a multinational company reach out to its global customers and this way, achieve customer satisfaction, as envisaged it its mission statement. The liaison between employees and the management has fostered working arrangements within this organization. Moreover, LinkedIn has also bolstered both collaborative and hierarchical relationships between the employees and the management on one hand, and customers all over the world on the other. Such a working relationship enables to make decisions that are for the good of the customers and the company (Butow & Taylor 2009).
In conclusion, decision-making processes in Dell as an organization, are decentralized, with the employees being surfaced with the all-important facts that only bolster this kind of working relationships. This way, LinkedIn has been overly successful as far as attaining Dell’s objectives are concerned. However, when this decentralization is bereft of control, decision-making can get out of hand since employees may tend to make decisions without the necessary knowledge in management. Such autonomy may not be viable in the end, since it may affect the corporate image of the firm. The use of LinkedIn as a social networking service may also harm the relationship between the company and the customers when their specifications are not addressed to the letter.