Focus on immediate ROI 'needs to shift'
IT departments should invest in long-term, revenue-generation technologies, says Condo Protego COO
IT spending in the Middle East needs to shift from being based on short-term returns on investment to seeking long-term, revenue-generating opportunities, according to Savitha Bhaskar, COO at Condo Protego, a Dubai-based data storage and security firm.
Responding to survey results revealed by EMC during its industry forum last week, Bhaskar said that IT managers need to build a better case when proposing investments in technology to the line-of-business managers signing the cheques. The survey said that nearly two-thirds (64%) of UAE companies believe that spending for technology falls outside the jurisdiction of the IT department.
"In most organisations, IT managers will build a case based on total cost of ownership and immediate return on investment, concluding that the procurement of that technology is at the right cost," Bhaskar said.
"While this has worked before, it is a traditional ‘procurement' approach that does not take into consideration the true value of acquiring and deploying that technology towards customer satisfaction and the bottom-line of the organisation. Instead, IT managers need to build business cases that focus on the business benefits that investing in that technology would bring."
Bhaskar provided an example of moving an application to the cloud. She said that such a move could both enhance customer experience and reduce operational costs. Or else, she said, business analytics could lead to a growing market share and the discovery of new, revenue-generating opportunities.
Indeed, Bhaskar asserted that the role that technology plays in an organisation's future makes it essential that CIOs are involved with CEOs and COOs in the decision-making process.
"In the more mature markets you will find that CIOs sit somewhere between the CEOs and the COOs. In this region, we will definitely get there, but it will take time."
Bhaskar highlighted so-called third-platform technologies as the key to making long-term strategic investments. According to the EMC survey, 88% of respondents in the UAE expect next-generation technologies, such as mobile, social, cloud, and big data, to give their organisation a competitive edge.
But businesses that are not prepared to make the full transition to third platform technologies are implementing a middle-ground solution, Bhaskar claimed.
"We must not forget that one solution cannot fit all requirements. Captured data is heterogeneous, and so different platforms are best suited for different applications. This is why many companies will find a hybrid approach works best and is more realistic," she said.
"Enterprise workload applications, such as those relating to customer relationship management and human resources, are likely to be easy candidates for putting on the public cloud. However, core workload applications, those that are at the heart of the business and play an important role in creating its competitive advantage, are more likely to remain on premise. These could include applications that help manage manufacturing, as well as research and development."