Lean and mean

When you think about IT, are you after cost savings or performance? Stuart Wilson on why forward-thinking Middle East firms separate the two.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  February 12, 2007

"I want fewer servers, improved storage, a reduced number of suppliers, streamlined management systems, greater predictability in terms of cost and increased flexibility in the IT function," declares the big shot Middle East CIO. "No problem," replies the friendly consultant from the enterprise vendor, "but it's going to cost you big time."

Now this is a conversation that is played out time after time between end-users and vendors in the Middle East; and it is an exchange that highlights the glaring discord that still exists between an end-user's eternal quest for greater IT efficiency and a vendor's underlying raison d'etre: money, money, money.

It's too easy for end-users to lose sight of this business dynamic when they become engrossed in the technical side. And this is one of the reasons why many forward-thinking Middle East enterprises are now separating the technical evaluation from the financial side when thinking about IT.

The enterprise IT vendors won't like me saying this, but there are still some managers in the Middle East that are too easily impressed by a supplier 's smooth sales technique. The visit from the head honcho, the flashy PowerPoint presentation, the first class trip to Europe and wild figures promising an incredible return on investment still prove too tempting for some - even if the evidence to back the claims up is tenuous in the extreme.

They fall for it hook, line and sinker and open their chequebooks to splash some serious cash on 'shelfware' that is totally unsuitable for their business needs, or hardware that has absolutely no place within their existing IT infrastructure.

It is happening more frequently in this region than it does in more mature markets such as Western Europe and the US where the buyers have got a little bit smarter and the vendors have had to step their game up.

Who's to blame for the current flaws in the vendor-customer relationship in the Middle East? It's too easy to pin the blame on the vendors and, as much as I love doing that, I'm afraid that the end-users also need to shoulder a burden of responsibility in this particular case.

3934 days ago
Jeejo Putoor

The goal of every CIO / IT Manager is ROI on existing IT infrastructure. IT investments should be planned targeting the business vision. It is here that professional consultants should help through proper study & design of existing infrastructure & align the enterprise IT requirements within constraints of feasibility, technology, effort & efficiency and most importantly cost.

3935 days ago
Mansoor Shukoor

I completely agree, I have seen too many companies waste money on the wrong products. The best companies define a strong architecture across their enterprise, making sure that they have invested properly in the underlying infrastructure. Once this is done, it becomes much easier to determine whether a vendor product really fits in with the company vision, and thus if it is a wise investment.

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