Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 32 | Page 86

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Software for Business Glyn Yates, MEA Regional Director at Axios Systems to publish a new or changed service offering when it can be done in minutes. These previous methods meant expansive capability equalled expensive complexity and a major change to simplify design, build and operation of systems was critical, so the shift in recent years is understandable. Of course, as you would expect, the market reacted with out-of-the-box (OOTB) packages, offering quick starts and pre- defined deliverables. The subsequent messaging that accompanied this promoted it as quick and easy. This all sounds very promising. That is until we understand the customer – the one paying the bills – is more knowledgeable now and demands more from a system, requiring it to be aligned to his specific drivers and operations. The customer demands competitive advantage and does not want to just be pigeon-holed with his competitors who are operating the same OOTB technologies. Quite simply, the swing to overly prescriptive packages has gone too far and the unfortunate implication is that the customer loses their uniqueness. Yet, at an enterprise level, I haven’t engaged with a single customer that is ‘out-of-the- box’ and I find they are being pushed into a particular operational method to meet the needs of the software/system they are using when it should be the other way around; that being where the software/system is able to meet the bespoke needs of the customer. 86 IN TELLIGENTCIO DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND THE SUBSEQUENT SERVICE STRATEGY IS A DOUBLE- EDGED SWORD. Fortunately, not all CIOs want to be manoeuvred into a position they didn’t construct and they would rather create their strategies to meet their needs and have supporting technologies that can adapt as they adapt, with agility and capability at the core. We are reaching the stage where even adherence to accepted standards, such as ITIL, is not seen as responsive enough for our customers. An example of this is a recent request by a CIO to cherry-pick the most effective elements of various standards including ITIL, COBIT, ISO, CMMI and a few others to produce a comprehensive yet bespoke best fit to meet the customer’s bespoke operational business needs – there is nothing ‘out-of-the-box’ about that. Of course, this approach will take a little longer. Understanding the business operations is an integral part, followed by mapping those needs into an underpinning platform. However, the benefits are far greater to organisations and their customers. There has also been a noticeable increase in CIOs understanding two key factors when considering their technology investment. 1. Quick-start means quick-win only and does not lay the foundations for long- term strategic, objective achievement. OOTB does allow something quickly and easily; however, the compromise is in year two when agility is key and, in a three-to- five-year plan, year two onwards is vital 2. Land and expand tactics – employed by many vendors to position a quick, cheap initial offering knowing that their profit will come a little later when you realise the initial OOTB offering does not meet the maturing requirements But all is not lost, as there are technologies that manage to provide the best of all worlds, offering enterprise-class capabilities, ease of management and maintenance without programming or development costs and the agility to enable today and tomorrow’s policies with a few keystrokes, all providing the strategy and investment protection which is so important in today’s business world. So, in that next meeting or product demonstration, when the vendor talks about out-of-the-box, tell them you are not in one and then come and talk to Axios Systems. n