Thought for the day: The new pragmatism

Post-millennium buyers have a better idea of what they want from technology, and suppliers are better placed to deliver targeted...

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Post-millennium buyers have a better idea of what they want from technology, and suppliers are better placed to deliver targeted products.



The IT buying cycle is now realigning itself for the first time since 2000, with a smarter, more pragmatic approach.

Y2K disrupted the traditional five-year buying cycle for many businesses. Future investments that would have been made in 2001 or 2002 were done in 1999.

Following the turn of the millennium, there was an illogical sense of disappointment that systems did not go haywire, which was followed by a more deeply-rooted scepticism about the technology invoked by the dotcom crash.

But after three tough years, suddenly the news from the IT sector is better than it has been for a while. The cycle is realigning itself with a different approach to buying and selling.

As IT emerges from the post-millennium slump, there is a stronger set of suppliers and more focused, less impressionable buyers. At the risk of sounding like John Major, there is a kind of back-to-basics theme running through IT today.

Buyers are now more savvy about ensuring IT works smarter for them. Today's buyer is unlikely to be dazzled by the hype surrounding new technology. Companies are once again genuinely more focused on achieving business benefits, rather than just talking about it.

But the real change is in the mechanics of how IT is bought and managed. Many companies now want IT management to be somebody else's problem. Rather than dedicate precious internal resources trying to make IT work, companies are looking to a third party to deliver IT benefits.

The resurgence of the application service provider, the strength of the outsourcing market and the introduction of utility computing are all testament to this. The provider has the headache of delivery and maintenance while the user creams off the benefits in return for a predictable, fixed monthly fee.

Users have not always got what they paid for. Now they are only paying for what they get. Just as in the world of fashion, if brown can become the new black, then maybe pragmatism can become the new IT buzzword.

What's your view?
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Colin Boag is managing director at JBS Computer Services

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