Forget your silos, think strategically

When planning datacentres, Middle East enterprises must dump any conservative leanings to focus on a more radical, future-facing approach.

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By  Administrator Published  September 11, 2007

At an enterprise level, a myriad of networking vendors, integrators and corporate end users are now either working on datacentre projects or planning them for the near future. And to this end, there is serious money to be spent.

However what's also noticeable in addition to the cash rolling around the market, is how companies are approaching their projects; in many cases this is similar to how they were approached in Western markets some ten years back.

Whilst Middle East enterprises are not shying away from investing money and effort in information technology if they believe it will add benefit to the organisation, they tend to consider these projects as one-point investments or ‘silo' solutions. When instead they should consider the datacenter as an element - albeit a key element - of an overall IT architecture, the parts of which need to work together like a well-oiled machine to reach the ultimate goal of an agile enterprise that is reactive to change and can adapt quickly to change.

This rather conservative silo approach has a dual impact. First, many Middle East enterprises end up making the same mistakes their counterparts in more mature markets made and learned a decade ago. Second, and more importantly, this mindset shackles enterprises and holds them back from ‘leapfrogging' legacy technologies and moving to the latest systems. It restricts the IT manager, his team and in turn, higher management and the enterprise as a whole, to a technology game that is almost always tied up with ever-present problems and monotonous maintenance issues.

Of course this is far from ideal. Enterprises here should be able to draw from the lessons learnt by other organisations, and implement solutions and processes that allow them to go beyond those steps and achieve benefits much faster. In other words, both IT heads and senior management should look beyond point solutions and discrete investments, and address the datacentre in its entirety, where the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.

To be sure, such comprehensive projects do occur in the region. But at the moment they are still too rare an occurrence to put the mind completely at rest.

On the upside, the tide could be turning. As more international vendors, along with high end consultancy firms, bring global insight and understanding to the region - through their exhibiting at key industry gatherings such as GITEX Technology Week - enterprise users are being given a hefty push up the technology learning curve to help them pick up speed, learn faster and grow better.

Soon, most here predict, the region will think more clearly about technology solutions, and a wave of strategic action looks set to focus on building comprehensive IT solutions, instead of one-at-a-time purchases. How soon though, remains anybody's guess.

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