European CIOs value service above innovation

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European CIOs value service above innovation

Software makers should stop pushing innovations on users and focus instead on providing better after-sales service, European chief information officers said at a conference in Brussels on Friday.

"Vendors must change their business models," said Jacques Beer-Gabel, CIO of French banking group Société Général and vice president of French IT users association Cigref, which hosted the conference.

"Their aim is to sell as many boxes as possible. While we welcome innovation, we just don't need products at this pace. We need bug-free, long-lasting equipment. Vendors have to get away from focusing on repeat purchases and work more on providing better after sales-service," Beer-Gabel said.

The CIOs also discussed issues that arose from mergers and takeovers, how IT should fit in with corporate strategy, and how best to integrate applications throughout companies.

Some CIOs believed their role should focus solely on information, and that systems questions should be handled by chief technology officers. Others argued that the two things are inseparable. "There was no consensus on this," Beer-Gabel said.

The CIOs said they were very interested in the European antitrust case against Microsoft, but none said they had participated in the EuropeanCommission's investigation.

"It is important for the Commission to act," said deputy general manager Cigref Sebastien Bachollet, but he added: "It's not our role to point out problems. We need to push our position directly with providers such as Microsoft."

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