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Stories by Chris Morris

Eyes wide open

While the financial crisis brings to the fore the need to assess and mitigate risks in vendor relationships more effectively, other factors such as expanding regulation and shifting vendor dynamics, also call attention to the discipline of vendor risk management.
Recently, we have seen that larger customers are moving away from big long-term transformational commitments that soak up significant investment dollars. Instead, they are going for more digestible projects, typically implemented in less than six months and with less taxing requirements for staffing and project dollars.

Written by Chris Morris30 Sept. 09 22:00

Vanishing vendors

Within the IT industry, the swallowing of small companies by larger companies is a regular event. However, in the current economy we are likely to see increased frequency of acquisitions as the better positioned vendors scoop up financially weak competitors that have strong products. In these cases there is always a good chance of service continuity but we are also likely to see the total failure of some companies, and their disposal as a whole or through a sale of assets, which sees different business units being bought by different vendors or completely discarded.
This is particularly painful as a customer when the vendor being swallowed is key to your IT strategy and your whole sourcing strategy has to be reviewed. In the worst case scenario, a vendor whose products you have just finished implementing after an exhaustive whole-of-organisation evaluation process is taken over by the supplier that rated most poorly in your assessment.

Written by Chris Morris04 March 09 22:00

Green it

As chief information officer, you will almost certainly have been involved in your organisation's green IT initiative in the past 18 months, probably focusing on cutting data-centre energy consumption or developing a power-management strategy for IT assets.
But what you may not be involved in is your company's transformation into a green business, or in other words, using IT to pursue sustainable initiatives. Your company is probably undergoing a sea change, and the question is: "Are you helping to shape it?"

Written by Chris Morris07 Oct. 08 22:00

Slow sell on SaaS

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston in July 2006, Steve Ballmer told an expectant audience that he was not quite ready to share the company's SaaS strategy yet. All he would say was that SaaS was important to Microsoft and "We're working on it. Give us some time". Partners walked away knowing the company would definitely be involved in SaaS, but they weren't sure how.
In Denver a year later, Ballmer introduced Software-plus-Services, Microsoft's strategy on SaaS. It essentially means the company will offer customers the best of all worlds: on-premise software, partner-hosted software and Microsoft-hosted software. Its partners walked away understanding more, but had fresh questions on what their future roles would be.

Written by Chris Morris04 Sept. 08 22:00

Selling the sizzle

IT industry analysts tend to take for granted the stream of press releases dispatched to them by vendors' marketing and communications teams. However, the volume and tone of those from services vendors has changed noticeably this year. They are less about account wins and new service offerings, and more about how they can deliver business value. This reflects the move by service vendors up the value chain from pure-play IT outsourcing to business process outsourcing, and the repositioning of these vendors as agents of business transformation. EDS, PwC and Perot Systems are examples of such vendors who have decided to build their marketing and communications efforts as part of this fundamental trend in the services market.
Although the marketing and communications arena is nothing new for EDS, its activities in this area have grown significantly over the past year (although at this sensitive moment the company does not want to disclose any numbers), after the executive team made a strategic decision to change the firm's image. To this end, EDS began a global campaign in which it appeared alongside some of its top global clients, selected from a broad range of industries. The campaign described client achievements with a comment on what EDS does for the client, subtly conveying the idea that EDS is in the background of its clients' success.

Written by Chris Morris05 July 08 22:00

Threat or promise

Recent discussions with enterprise software providers indicate that many view open source software as just another piece of business. This is a big change from 2007, when most were struggling to understand the demand for open source software, its role within their portfolios and the most effective business models for profiting from it.
But in the past 12 to 18 months, many software vendors have moved from fear to aggression, pursuing open source development firm acquisitions, incorporating this sort of code into offerings throughout their portfolios and looking for (or planning) open source products. This rapid turnaround may not be good news, as moving too quickly from uncertainty to total acceptance may not turn out happily for many vendors and their customers. A too-aggressive adoption and deployment of any technology leads to a lack of co-ordination across products and partners, incomplete offerings and a lack of adequate support.

Written by Chris Morris04 May 08 22:00

Virtually confused

Attracted by dazzling promises of dramatic reductions in the complexity and costs of infrastructures, some IT executives have made virtualisation one of the hottest topics in many years. It's being widely adopted because it delivers significant and almost immediate returns on investment for most user enterprises.
All too frequently, the general concept of virtualisation is equated with the specifics of server virtualisation. That is because the latter has been a fixture of the IT landscape for decades. Further, as IT vendors move to cash in on the growing popularity of virtualisation, they are touting a growing array of offerings to implement, facilitate, organise, mitigate, and/or manage various aspects of this technique. Not surprisingly, while each vendor's sales efforts are well-intentioned, the numerous approaches and a cacophony of terms can leave users overwhelmed or confused.

Written by Chris Morris24 March 08 23:00

Out in the open

Any discussions about open-source software with IT vendor executives and CIOs indicate an increasingly rapid adoption of open source in user enterprises of all sizes, and within software and services vendors' offerings. But it is becoming apparent that the greatest presence of open-source software will actually be as components of other offerings of applications, systems and services, and as such it will be "hidden".
Current vendor and open-source community disputes over licensing terms and conditions could bring that hidden software - and significant legal issues - to the surface.

Written by Chris Morris19 Dec. 07 22:00

Disturbing elements

It has become increasingly clear that organisations are expanding their adoption of software as a service (SaaS), service-oriented architecture (SOA), open-source software and utility computing infrastructure. Individually, each of these technology disruptors signals an evolutionary change in existing IT infrastructure.
For most user organisations, however, these four are linked, with the result that adoption of any of these four technology disruptors will almost certainly result in adoption of the others. But it is rare that each is co-ordinated to be managed effectively as part of a larger, holistic IT and business strategy. Users need to realise that adoption of one disruptive influence will have cascading impacts, if considered in the context of multiple, simultaneous disruptive influences.

Written by Chris Morris05 Nov. 07 22:00

Disruptive programs

IT managers are probably aware that their software environments may dramatically change over the next five years, but they may not be aware that the complexity and management costs associated with the adoption of next-generation software technologies could ultimately reduce a company's ability to innovate.
Deployment of varying types and levels of software as a service, multiple flavours of service-oriented architectures and open source-based software can be expected to have a significant negative effect on many companies' abilities to be more broadly innovative. A review of customer, vendor and user announcements shows there is likely to be significant spending on and deployment of SaaS, open source and SOA over the next five years.

Written by Chris Morris07 Aug. 07 22:00