End users versus vendors

ACN is taking up the cause of end users by taking the questions of CIOs right to the vendors

Tags: Dell CorporationFujitsu Technology Solutions - UAEOracle CorporationSAP Middle East and North AfricaSun Microsystems IncorporationUser group
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End users versus vendors KAMEL: We’re obviously keen to see the end of the difficult market conditions that have characterised 2009.
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By  ACN Staff Writer Published  October 11, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

ACN is taking up the cause of end users by taking the questions of CIOs right to the vendors. This year vendors were given just two days to come up with an answer to a simple question. Some passed with flying colours, while others stumbled at the starting line – these are their responses.

As a CIO, I believe green IT is really just about saving money on power consumption or paper.  Where is the proof that it really makes a difference to the environment, especially here in the Middle East where we don't even have widespread recycling programmes?

Dell

Process: Dell's public relations agency were the first to assure us they were on the case, though they did take a little longer to actually submit the reply. The regional director of Dell's public relations agency took charge of this enquiry personally, which made things go incredibly smooth and efficiently. 5/5

Response: The quality of the response from Dave Brooke, general manager of Dell Middle East, set the gold standard for all of the other replies. He outlined that there is no argument that green IT can deliver advantages for CIOs in terms of cost and power reduction, and referred to several findings that prove it can have an impact on climate change.

Brooke referenced Gartner, McKinsey Consultants and Dell's internal analysis using US EPA carbon conversion calculators to prove his assertions. 5/5

Fujitsu

Process: Fujitsu's PR agency was one of the first to inform us that they were working on a response. Unfortunately, despite this, and being aware of the fixed deadline, the firm sent in a response nearly four hours after it had expired. 3/5

Response: Farid Al Sabbagh, Middle East managing director at Fujitsu Technology Solutions admitted that there is an absence of recycling facilities, though he also pointed out that most vendors have their own facilities. He then went on to explain why it is so difficult to actually measure the real impact of Green IT.

We'd like to hear more about how Fujitsu products are more environmentally-friendly over their entire lifecycle, but the resulting storm of marketing might be more than we could bear. We do appreciate his candour in admitting the lack of recycling programmes in the region, though, particularly as that was relative to the original question. 4/5

 Do vendors have a responsibility to organise and fund user-groups?

SAP

Process: Here's another classic example of the inherent weakness of read receipts: they only tell you if the recipient has received the e-mail, not if the person has actually read it. A supplementary call we made the next day to remind the agency rep of its importance had the desired effect and both answers were received well before the deadline. 4/5

Response: Kevin Scott, vice president of industry business solutions answered the question on behalf of SAP: "As a vendor SAP is committed to work with its user groups on local and global levels. Support from SAP varies from facilitating access to SAP executives and thought leaders, to providing feedback channels for SAP product and service strategies. SAP user groups are independent, not-for-profit organisations," he states.

SAP scored big brownie points with us here for actually answering the question in the most simple and direct manner possible - especially when you consider that arch rival Oracle would not deign to do so. 5/5

Oracle

Process: Oracle's public relations agency were quick off the mark with reading the e-mail - thanks to a read receipt we were sent early on, but the positives stopped there. We had to chase them up and were promised that they were contacting the correct people in London, but were eventually fobbed off with a lukewarm response about there not being enough time before the deadline. 1/5

Response: Oracle's spokesperson informed us that because of Oracle's approval system that would take a few days, they would be unable to meet the deadline. Despite this they assured us they were disappointed - which doesn't really count for anything. 0/5

Why don't vendors have more local consultants based here, instead of flying them in from Europe where the issues can be totally different?

Sun

Process: Sun's PR agency scored top marks from us last year for both the speed and quality of response. The Oracle-Sun merger seems to have taken its toll, however, as this year was at the opposite end of the quality spectrum. While the PR acknowledged the initial e-mail, we were informed early on the day of the deadline (via phone) that there would be no response this year - and an official e-mail only arrived three hours after deadline. 1/5

Response: Sun declined to respond to our question, citing a need to get all requests approved by Oracle - which in line with the latter's responses above, would not have enough to furnish the answer. We frankly don't think this is good enough - and considering the shocking difference from last year's prompt response to the question, hope this is not a harbinger of things to come. 0/5

EMC

Process: EMC's representative was out of the town on the day the e-mail was sent, and only acknowledged receipt of the e-mails mere hours before the deadline - with the final response received nearly four hours afterwards. Normally, this would be cause for severe rebuke, but in the light of the circumstances and the quick turnaround in getting the answer, we're inclined towards leniency. 3/5

Response: Wael el Nadi, Technoloy solutions manager, Turkey, Middle East and North West Africa for EMC responds to the question:

"Vendors do not have consultants based here as this requires investment in building the consulting practice and acquiring the right skills. In EMC we took a decision in Jan 2007 to establish our own local consulting practice based in Dubai and since then we have recruited more than 10 consultants from all over the world," he says.

A good response, if a little heavy on the self-congratulation. 4/5

Everybody seems to be saying we've turned the corner. Which quarter do you think it will be safe to start spending again?

Lenovo

Process: Lenovo's PR, like many of the people we spoke to, was away on leave when the e-mail was sent. Unlike most people, another rep immediately stepped into the breach and got us our answers on time - without prompting. Top marks. 5/5

Response: Last year, Khaled Kamel, general manager for Lenovo Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan came through with a solid response. This year, he obfuscates a little, in our opinion.

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