The new value proposition

Regional systems integrators are tightening every nut and bolt in their offerings to remain competitive as customers cut back on IT spend.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  January 18, 2009

Regional systems integrators are tightening every nut and bolt in their offerings to remain competitive as customers cut back on IT spend.

As the financial crisis hits home, system integrators who are at the foreground of interactions with end-users and vendors are changing the way they interact with the market in a bid to secure their earnings.

"The first step is to be careful of who we deal with. With the very best intention, your customer - more often then not a contractor or sub-contractor - could face a problem and you then see a domino effect that hurts. We have to be 100% sure the client can actually honour their commitment and not cancel the project or put it on hold," says Fayez Ibbini, MD at Alpha Data.

"We have a fairly large pipeline, so we have enough business momentum to see us through 2009. If this crisis continues beyond 2009 then the whole game shifts for everybody," says Ibbini.

To handle the crisis better and to remain competitive in the market, system integrators are also tuning their offerings to capitalise on changing end-user needs and bring in new revenue streams.

"End-users want to maximise their pre-existing solutions investment. We are planning to improve the utilisation of purchased [solutions] and move closer to organisations that have invested in these systems," says Feraz Al Jabi, general manager at Itqan.

"It is not very easy to maintain growth. I am not sure that we will have growth over the level of the 34% that we saw in 2008. But we are looking to continue and sustain at least what we have achieved. To do that we are planning mainly to offer our customers diversified solutions which go towards reducing their IT span, such as SaaS and outsourcing part of the IT infrastructure," says Sami Abi Esber, president at Mideast Data Systems.

"We have a strong customer base. Of course, we have taken some internal decisions on how to re-organise ourselves in order to meet the current market conditions, such as merging a couple of industry verticals," says Khaldoun Al Shamaa, head of business development and marketing at Emirates Computers.

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