Are Businesses Paying a Premium for Solutions They May Never Consume?

Businesses, especially in emerging markets, are in comparison with other markets peculiar in characteristics. In trying to solve the everyday business and software challenges, they fall victim to IT salesmen whose prime interest is to make sales and hope that their products ultimately solve the problem. Usually, the inability of the businesses in emerging markets to hire a strong system architect exposes them to being exploited by the sales pitch and marketing nuances of the technology merchants.

Many decision-makers are unable to ask their vendor(s) the right questions, their limited knowledge of service options exposes them to offers that may be inadequate but on the offer. Given these realities, vendors get away with very techie high-end nomenclatures all in an attempt to have the customer surrender their ability to make an informed decision. Usually, pricing becomes the key parameter on which a buying decision is made. It usually takes a couple of months or even years before businesses realise they have paid or are still paying for a solution that is not answering to their needs or solving their problems.

I have lost count of how many times I walked into organisations that had previously invested heavily in net-meeting, video conferencing and teleconferencing solutions only to see that most of these investments are lying unused. On one occasion, our team had scheduled a teleconference with a big conglomerate who had deployed one of these heavy solutions and for over 40min we couldn’t get it going. Other stakeholders also struggled to get unto the teleconference platform. Following an hour’s delay and struggle, I was pushed to recommend a simple cloud-based tool we used for similar purposes at Excite Panacea. In little or no time, we were set to go, enjoying glitch-free teleconferencing that lasted for two hours with no interference. No sales pitch was required to get this big conglomerate to buy-in on this product, as subsequent meetings we had, happened on the platform.

But to get the best out of their technology investments, stakeholders need to bridge the gap between what the businesses want and what it needs, what setup would drive the best value for the business. Buying and deploying off- the-shelve technology has often resulted in sub-optimal results. When you as a key decision maker in an organisation decide to buy ready to deploy technology solutions like enterprise systems, network infrastructure, security and cloud solutions, ensuring that it can be set up to your specific use case or that it is adaptable to your peculiar business architecture is as important as the cost. From numerous requirement elicitation sessions and infrastructure audits conducted over the year, we noticed that about 80% of businesses utilise less than 40% of the capacity inherent in their technology investment. We find that lots of businesses over time acquire overlapping solutions or multiple instances of interchangeable solutions usually based on the advice of service providers.

Ensuring that continuous system audits are conducted and considered when procurement decisions are made for new enhancements or capabilities is the first step in ensuring that capacity and cost is constantly optimised within the business.

At Excite Panacea, we take audits and detailed requirements elicitation seriously, ensuring that we are able to dimension properly the current near future needs of any implementation. As companies face greater pressure to reduce costs and find new paths to revenue and growth, they should continue to review and reduce unnecessary surpluses in their technology investment by keeping track of capacity utilisation and cost to benefit, exploring the smarter alternative and engaging the services of proven partners and not just another service providers.

Godson Nkeokelonye is the CEO, Excite Panacea Limited an information technology hub focused on creating value for businesses through technology. 

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