Knowledge sharing empowers IT

CIOs and IT managers from around the region gathered at the ACN Enterprise Computing Summit to discuss best practice, opportunities and the big issues facing the informa tion technology sector today

  • E-Mail
Knowledge sharing empowers IT Beyond hype: The panel discussed how to understand the real value of technology. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  June 16, 2013

Leaders in the region's IT sector gathered to discuss the issues facing the Middle East IT sector, at the third ACN Enterprise Computing Summit 2013. The event, which took place at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, at the end of April, brought together around one hundred CIOs, senior IT directors, and industry stakeholders, to discuss some of the key topics in the industry today, including delivering ROI, outsourcing, security, cloud computing, and analytics, along with presentations addressing the new technologies and the achievements of enterprise IT leaders.

Turning vendor hype into ROI

The first panel discussion of the ACN Enterprise Computing Summit focused on the topic of ‘Translating the hype into practical benefits and tangible ROI'. The panel, which was moderated by Munir Majdalawieh, Enterprise Computing coordinator at the College of Technological Innovation, Zayed University and which included, Vaibhav Bhatt, infrastructure service manager, DHL Express, Arun Tewary, vice president, IT & CIO, Emirates Flight Catering, and Ian Cook, VP CIO & head Of Operations, Oman Insurance Company, said that assessing and realising the practical benefits of new technologies is becoming increasingly complex, due to the speed of change, industry hype, and misconceived demand from internal business partners.

Tewary said that trying to keep up with technology trends is like looking through a kaleidoscope: "by the time you focus on one, something else comes along. It is very difficult in IT to really take note of the emerging technologies."

Cook said that companies need to focus above all on the business benefit of any new technology: "If a technology can reduce the cost per employee of providing a given service, like a desktop, then it is obviously something we should consider. If a technology can increase intimacy and cross-selling with my customers and then it is worth considering - those fundamentals have never changed.

"Big data for me is not only a hype, it is extremely misleading; the cloud in many ways, you could argue that the mainframe was cloud," he added. "As an industry we get caught up in these hypes. Cloud has been promoted now for the best part of eight years, and still there is very little uptake."

Bhatt added that the IT organisation needs to approach new technologies hand-in-hand with the rest of the business: "Whenever there is a new technology, we partner with the business and look at the business needs. Based on that we go out to the market and see whose technology best suits us, we give the business the opportunity to speak, and give their own inputs."

While the industry can very often be vendor-led, with the solution provider pushing updates to the user whether they want them or not, Tewary noted, it is still important for the CIO to be prepared to think of future steps. His organisation is now looking at how processes can be automated, to build on existing systems, while continuing to grow and improve efficiency.

"You keep the core systems on, you keep looking at new versions and upgrades, but after a certain period of time you do need to start looking at the new technologies. What we have done last year, is that after five or six years of having our enterprise applications, they are stable, they cater to our core business requirements and major business processes, but the business volume is growing."

The panel also said that the consumerisation of IT, and its penetration into everyday life, meant that non-IT stakeholders are increasingly asking for new technologies without necessarily understanding the technology or if it will bring any benefits.

CIOs need to stick to the fundamentals of analysing the benefits and pitfalls of any projects, and communicating those to the stakeholders. Proving the real ROI on any project was also difficult, and could sometimes be difficult to calculate.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code