While Dell continues to evolve its CSR plans, it also has embarked on a fundamental transformation of its core business in recent years. Dell's business strategy is shifting from a focus on the manufacture and sale of IT hardware to one based more on the provision of services, including cloud services. For example, through its datacenters, Dell provides Microsoft Azure services as public or private cloud products, as well as services based on VMware's vCloud Datacenter Services, dubbed the Dell Cloud.
This transition has required Dell to make significant changes to its supply chain and internal infrastructure, including increasing the number of datacenters it owns and operates. Dell announced last year that it would add 10 new datacenters to its existing 35 facilities over the next two years on an as-needed basis, as well as 22 showcase facilities, called Global Solutions Centers, which are small operational datacenters used only to demonstrate Dell technology to customers. Most of Dell's planned new facilities will be customer-facing; the company maintains that the total square footage of its datacenters used to provide internal IT services for Dell has remained constant over the past five years.
Encouraging customers to use services provided from Dell's datacenters rather than build out on-premises IT systems has implications for Dell's CSR plans, notably its carbon footprint. Put simply, instead of selling hardware to its customers (where the customer is responsible for the resulting carbon emissions), Dell will provide those services from its own systems (and take on the carbon burden itself).
As part of the transformation to become a services business, Dell has made a number of acquisitions (Quest Software, Make Technologies, Wyse Technology) in recent years that will also have consequences for its carbon footprint and overall sustainability. For example, newly acquired companies come with legacy infrastructure and facilities (with a carbon footprint) that may not be as energy- and resource-efficient as those elsewhere in Dell. The company recalculates its sustainability metrics every year to take into account acquisitions.