Govt CIO on how resellers can hit the sweet spot

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This article appeared in the April 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Govt CIO on how resellers can hit the sweet spot
Andrew Cann

The CIO of this state government agency says the perfect partner is one who can match the department’s needs with the right mix of technology 

Tell us about a recent project that required an external IT provider 

A WAN upgrade for 10 regional offices and four camps that also had to run a VoiP phone system and wireless end points in the offices. One of our offices has been completed and is probably the most technically advanced government regional office in WA.

Who was the provider?

It was Telstra. They offered consultation, design and implementation. We asked them to research possibilities for integration of those components to ease management by the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and identify any area of savings efficiencies.

How can an IT supplier win your business? 

By giving me an end-to-end vision of the services they are offering and how they integrate in an architectural way as a complete package. If you advise me that you can put in any component I want, piecemeal, I won’t understand where the technology sweet spot is. I might want a package made of X, Y and Z components, but I won’t know if they work well together. Why not approach me with something that they know works well? Then I don’t have to struggle through trial and error.

Isn’t it all about price?

Not at all. It’s about the sweet spot of technology, costs, management overhead and future pathways. 

When was the last time an IT provider impressed you? 

I’ve been working a lot with Velrada lately on Dynamics CRM. They have a very good understanding of the product and experience to help DSR and myself make the right decisions.

What mistakes do IT providers make? 

Insisting on meeting after meeting without resolving anything. For instance, one vendor set up a number of meetings - when all I wanted was some information about my licensing. It’s obvious they were only trying to get their foot in the door and keep it there in the hope that they can start billing for hours. I won’t be meeting with them anymore.

Is the cloud affecting investments? 

Where possible I will adopt cloud services. I am steadily moving DSR towards cloud providers and have moved some services there already. Any expenditure is geared towards ensuring that systems are built with cloud in mind and will work with or can be migrated to cloud when required. 

Is your use of external IT companies increasing or decreasing?

Increasing. I don’t have large amounts of resources and therefore need to make best use of outsourced providers to add value to DSR and not just keep the lights on. My staff need to understand what my organisation needs and have an understanding of what is available.

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