Sounding out CIOs

CIOs across the region have been talking about their big issues at seminars and roundtable events organised by companies such as Gartner and Oracle.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  December 4, 2005

Service oriented architecture (SOA), business intelligence and security were the main topics under discussion at Oracle’s recent series of CIO events, according to the software giant. Meanwhile research firm Gartner held discussions on the changing role of the IT department in Middle Eastern enterprise organisations. Ayman Abouseif, managing director, Oracle Gulf states, says, “Our feedback from the technology managers within the Middle East organizations is that these managers are being given a very real opportunity to influence the success of their respective businesses through better decision-making tools and access to crucial information not only about finances but also about corporate performance management. “At the same time, the regional CIOs are facing pressure to manage and protect vast stores of corporate data, migrate key applications, and run their IT environments as a utility, providing a highly available service just like water or power.” The company has been running events in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dammam, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Qatar and Riyadh, and will be holding a roundtable in Oman this month. The aim of the events is to keep regional IT managers informed about the latest technological developments, according to Oracle. Gartner, in the meantime, has inaugurated the first of what it says will be quarterly events throughout the region, aimed at high-level enterprise IT managers. At the inaugural Dubai event recently, CIOs saw a series of presentations on the way IT departments are seen within organisations, and what IT managers can do to influence this. “There is a shift within businesses going on, with IT departments becoming more focused on pioneering new initiatives for the business, rather than just reacting to the demands of other departments, but this change is slow,” says Matthew Silvester, account executive for Gartner. “At the moment, only about 5% of IT departments are in the proactive, business-led role, while around half are still seen as purely technical sections. The aim of these events is to help CIOs move their IT departments from reactive to proactive roles within their businesses.”

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