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Tue 2 Mar 2004 04:00 AM

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Customers want more from storage vendors

Middle East customers are not totally satisfied with storage vendors’ market strategies for the region, according to qualitative research by STME.

Middle East customers are not totally satisfied with storage vendors’ market strategies for the region, according to qualitative research by STME.

Storage provider STME surveyed organizations in Jordan and Egypt and found that decision-makers feel their ultimate corporate goals — including increasing customer service and reducing costs — are not aligned with the ‘box-mover’ approach of many storage vendors operating in the region. Companies surveyed expressed concern that they do not receive sufficient training opportunities, especially on how to maximize their investment in data management solutions.

STME’s research in Jordan and Egypt showed that customers might not be fully utilizing all of the data protection functionality available in software they buy, either due to lack of training or unwillingness to experiment with those solutions. Despite these issues, customers are still willing to continue investing in storage software as the amount of data they produce continues to grow. In selecting storage vendors, end-users noted that support and training are likely the most vital differentiators in the market today.

“A number of important trends have been revealed by STME’s research in Jordan and Egypt. First, there is frequently a divide between the goals of CEOs here, who want to be more competitive, efficient, and cost-effective, and IT managers, who want reliability and continuity in the IT services they provide within the company. What’s needed is greater understanding at the executive level about how judicious data management creates competitive advantage and cuts costs,” said Trevor Hutson, president & chief operating officer, STME.

“What we’ve also learned is that the market would benefit from storage vendors that take time to listen and respond to customer needs rather than pushing ‘one size fits all’ products. Because companies cited support and training as key concerns, it’s obvious that the market is becoming more mature and end-users are calling for providers with regional expertise and reach,” he added.

STME interviewed mid-size to large enterprises in Jordan and Egypt’s telco, banking, manufacturing, and government sectors. The company is now extending its research to more Gulf countries.

High-end storage hardware and software is becoming an indispensable part of enterprise IT systems. Increasing focus on corporate governance can only encourage even more spending. Vendors need to ensure their channel partners are properly trained and capable of making sure customers get the very best out of the products they purchase. An unsatisfied customer is more likely to seek out an alternative supplier when the time comes to invest further in developing a storage infrastructure.

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