Inside the systems integrators

Systems integrators play a major role in aiding end user organisations to successfully deploy projects and get the most value from their technology investment.

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Inside the systems integrators
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 29, 2013

Seyed Golkar, director, GBM Business Solutions, commented: “Generally, it is very important for vendors and SI partners to align strategies. The current business market is evolving at a very fast pace and IT requirements differ from one sector to the other which, in turn, forces SI partners to continue exploring ways and means to keep up with it and provide value through IT technology, in order for customers to get best results. Understanding our customers’ exact requirements and needs is key, and it is becoming more and more crucial for our customers to have the IT capabilities that will allow them to respond and adapt to the changing market needs.”

A closer relationship between systems integrators and customers can help develop better scope of work documents and to set more defined project objectives. Gupta also pointed out that systems integrators can also assist in areas such as contract negotiation and understanding differences in vendor pricing. Variations in pricing policy can mean that solutions with the same specifications might come with a big difference in TCO.

“It is finding that small print that says there is a licence fee and you have to pay the vendor every year to get that activated,” he said. “A smart customer will understand the value that the integrator adds to that process;we need to build this concept in the minds of the end user, because [the systems integrator] is the guy who gets the work done for you, he is the one that makes sure your system will be working in five years.”

Customers should also look to long-term relationships with systems integrators as well, rather than focusing just on pricing.

“There is no substitute for quality work delivered by an experienced integrator at the right price. Those customers who are mature enough to appreciate this basic concept will end up with a much lower overall cost of ownership than those who sacrifice experience and quality in favour of what might initially look like a low price offered by a low-cost integrator,” Golkar said.

Building a relationship that goes beyond a project-by-project basis will deliver more value, the systems integrators believe.

“It is all in the way they see the systems integrator as a partner,” says Villalonga. “The relationship with the customers can benefit from a long-term approach. When we have visibility into the customer’s overall IT roadmap, we can understand the projects they are launching, how critical these projects are in their environment and what are the budget constraints. We can help them much more than if they isolate each project by project, and squeeze the competition on price on each project, and create an isolated road map with different systems integrators.”

The systems integration business is undergoing a period of change, but the major players don’t expect this to slow the market in the region.

“The systems integration business will keep growing, and I expect this to be in double digits,” said Esber. “There will be more focus from customers on quality of services, the ability to execute on time, and skillsets, and this will change the role of many of the systems integrators and the map of the major players in the coming few years.”

Saheli of CNS added: “Advancement in technology will never stop, as long as new technology is there; you will need somebody to understand, to implement, to integrate, to deliver. The challenge here is in the systems integrator’s ability to adapt to the change in the technology and trends.”

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