Standing tall

Local systems integrators are industriously tightening up their organisations to remain competitive, and are not stopping hiring or training or giving up the fight against international SI market invaders

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By  Julian Pletts Published  February 15, 2009

With question marks hanging over some of the most prominent end-users in verticals such as banking and construction, local systems integrators are industriously tightening every nut and bolt in their organisation and offerings to remain competitive. Talking to some of the long-established service partners hailing from the locale, Channel Middle East hears why this is not the time to stop hiring staff, reduce commitment to training or give up the fight against international SI market invaders.

The integrators we spoke to were: Sami Abi Esber (SE), president at Mideast Data Systems (MDS); Khaldoun Al Shamaa (KS), head of business development and marketing at Emirates Computers; Fayez Ibbini (FI) managing director at Alpha Data; Tapas Roy (TR), COO at Raqmiyat; and Feraz Al Jabi (FA), general manager at Itqan.

What aspects of your work do end-users value the most during the current climate? And how do you capitalise on that?

TR: In addition to the work, [they value] the fact that the company has been servicing the financial sector for the last 25 years and has built up relationships and trust. Also, it is the capability to deliver.

Contracts are there to provide guidelines and frameworks, but it is a combination of the products, people and processes that we have put together over a period of time.

We provide not just the systems integration, but managed services and outsourcing services as well. All of this put together reduces the TCO, and as project managers we are able to outsource the risk that the customer has.

We also have multiple vendors behind us and can deliver projects that we will have done a number of times successfully.

FI: It is about being able to deliver on time and on budget as agreed. And now, more than ever, customers want to know that you have the resources, people or finances to deliver what is expected.

Some make promises beyond human capability. So if you have got the resources and funding, and you can have everything available at the right time, they value that very much.

FA: End-users want to maximise their pre-existing solutions investment. They look for committed professionals and fast-response integrators to enable more features.

We are planning to improve the utilisation of purchased [solutions] and move closer to organisations that have invested in these systems. There will also be new business and projects. But helping those that have invested already is very important and we have to be responsive to a budget crunch if there is one.

SE: Customers are looking to save money and have good services, but at the same time they also expect very competitive prices. MDS is a local systems integrator offering a quality of service equivalent to an international company.

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