Chief information officers are being told to give more value from less spend. But getting more for less flies in the face of recent IT history.
There is growing evidence that the arms race of IT spending over the past decade has not delivered the value to companies that people assume.
Take enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects, for example. Firms spent millions on implementations that lasted for years but delivered only nebulous business benefits.
While ERP focused predominately on internal processes, people ignored what was going on outside their corporate walls: the 'white space'.
ERP, and other IT initiatives, failed to tackle the problem of how enterprises can bridge the gap between themselves, business partners, suppliers and customers to make it easier to do business, reduce costs and enhance relationships.
The problem was that it required all parties in the business chain to deploy similar technology. There are too many companies interlinked with too many years of technological investment to throw things away and start again to meet a common IT standard. Corporate performance and client satisfaction have suffered.
We must acknowledge three things. First, life - from a technology perspective - will never be ideal. We have to develop strategies that cater for IT diversity.
Second, IT resources are scarce so there is little point in proposing solutions that consume resources, cash and time.
Third, people have been burnt by 'big bang' IT projects as highlighted by the ERP era. The return on investment (ROI) is too obscure. Companies want fast solutions to business pain.
This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff. The technology is there to deliver a 'point' solution approach to solving business issues, so that companies win battles today, rather than being promised the key to winning wars tomorrow.
Given that everyone in IT is hunting for the next sale, this approach could be a huge benefit for VARs looking to make the IT/ROI connection complete.
Mark Donkersley is group managing director at AXS-One.
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