by December 4, 2007 0 comments



It’s good to have lots of technologies and solutions available, but it also
increases the difficulty in choosing the right one for your business. Today’s IT
infrastructure is more complex than ever, which makes it essential to make a
very careful IT purchase. It doesn’t mean just paying for cost of the IT setup
but the cost of services, maintenance, licenses, etc. It’s very important that
your IT purchase process goes beyond product buying. With endless solutions
available in the market, CIOs face the dilemma of what to buy and what not to,
as a single wrong IT purchase can result in huge losses or a flop project.

We surveyed key CIOs from across the country to understand their buying
habits. Where they actually plan to invest in near future and what are their
expectation levels from the current setup in their enterprise? We provide you
with the know how of having a strong IT purchase strategy in place and a
well-defined process to back it up.

Trends in IT purchase
One of the key findings of survey is the fact that enterprises are spending
more and more every year. When asked about the trends in their IT budgets, most
of them said these increased over the years. When asked where they are planning
to invest in the coming year, DR and BCP topped the list. Good to know that
enterprises are finally taking DR and BCP seriously. Other most wanted
technologies for the next year turned out to be Unified Communication, SAN,
Information Security, and Server Consolidation. When asked about how frequently
they purchase products, 40% of them said as and when required and incidentally
the same number of CIOs, ie, 40% said every quarter.

Gap between your current IT setup and your
expectations

Green IT revolution also seems to be gaining momentem, 56% of the respondents
said that they are extremely serious about implementing Green IT in their
enterprise while only 40% of them said that they were somewhat serious. Every
company has a limited budget and they need to spend it carefully. Let’s take a
look at steps you can go ahead with to ensure you spend your IT budget
effectively.

How frequently do you purchase equipment
for your IT setup?

 

CIO vs CEO: Satisfaction level with current
IT setup

Look before you leap
Before planning your IT purchase strategy, you need to find how well is your
current IT setup performing? How happy are the users with your current IT setup.
In our survey when we asked key IT decision makers about how often they conduct
user assessment surveys, only 50% of them said once in a year. As ultimately
it’s the users who are running the business, user’s feedback should be taken
more often, at least once in six months. For defining a good important strategy,
it’s important to know that how have your recent IT setups delivered, their
impact on the business, what are the challenges that have come across after
deployment and how they are being resolved? Other than the user’s feedback, this
valuable information can come from your own IT team, managers, partners, and
customers.

Next you will also need to calculate the costs of IT setups implemented in
the past year. This will give you fair idea of variation between how much you
planned to spend last year and how much you actually spent. And in case you have
spent more than you actually had planned, and the setup is still not up to your
expectations, you will have to drill deeper to find out what exactly have caused
the gap.

Once you have gathered all this information (which is quite time consuming)
you need to analyze the trends faced in IT problems and issues faced during the
past year. This can be easily done by analyzing data of calls logged by your IT
helpdesk. Here determine the unique incidents which resulted in major problems.
How much of a loss did these cause and how widespread was it? Other things to
look at are how many users did it impact, how long it took to rectify the
problem completely, what was the overall impact on the business and what should
be done to prevent such attacks in future? Once you have identified the key
issues that had an impact on your organization and reasons behind them, you will
have a fair idea of what should be in your priority list of next IT purchase.

Where CIOs plan to invest in the near
future?

 

Everytime a new technology is introduced in
the
market, do you purchase it immediately or wait?

Set your priorities
Once you’ve outlined the major incidents and their impact on your business,
next thing you need to do is figure out their solutions. Again this can be done
in various ways: by taking an IT consultation, asking your managers and IT team
for suggestions. Once you have got the list of the solutions recommended, you
can also perform a feasibility study.

Now you have a starting point on identifying what to purchase. At this stage,
you can start filtering them out, based on the impact they’ll have on your
business. At the end, you’ll have a filtered-out list of items you need to
purchase. You could collate them in different categories and define a time
period by when you’ll need them. There might be things that need to be purchased
immediately, while others could wait, perhaps for the next
purchase cycle. Once you have a filtered and well-categorized list, you can
start defining the specs for each item onit.

Choosing the right vendor
After identifying what exactly you want to buy, and who all are going to be
the key decision makers for it, the job is half done. Next step is to identify
the vendors offering the product you are looking for. This shouldn’t be hard to
do, you can find this information online, in various magzines etc. Once the list
is ready, check out the products available on the vendor’s Website. After going
through few specs, you will have a fair idea of what’s available in the market
and which of them exactly suit your needs.

Next you invite the quotes from various vendors and process of negotiating
for the best deal begins. When choosing the vendor, it’s advisable to go for the
vendor which can deliver multiple items on your purchase list, as this makes
your IT infrastructure more standardized. In our past surveys we have seen there
has been always a gap between a CIO’s expectation and what is finally delivered
by the vendor. To avoid such situations you should test some of the equipments
before placing the final and must have stringent SLAs with the vendor.

How often do you conduct user assesment and
satisfaction survey?

Of expectations and dreams
When we asked how much is the gap between the current setup and their
expectations from it, a major chunk, about 48%, said that there is only a small
gap. In our survey another surprise came out when according to the CIOs their
CEOs were more satisfied about the current IT setup in their enterprise than the
CIOs themselves. About 64% of the CIOs said that their CEO is very satisfied
with the current IT setup, while same figure for CIOs themselves was 44%. When
we asked CIOs whether there is a mismatch between you and your CEO’s
expectations, only few of them admitted that there is a difference.

When we asked CIOs the dream question that where they would like to invest,
if they were provided with unlimited IT budget and it was their call of where to
invest, Virtualization topped this list and others in the top list were Unified
Communication, BI, SOA, DR ,and BCP. When we asked CIOs about their personal
likes and dislikes, incidentally Virtualization again topped the list of
personal likes. Other technologies CIOs seem to love where .Net, DR and BCP, BI,
RFID, IP telephony, and Green data center. While coming to dislikes some of them
didn’t like even a single technology, while others seem to have different
choices but at the end of it, there was no single technology that we can call
most hated one.

Anil Chopra and Swapnil Arora

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