Technology vendors mislead CIOs when they claim to be complete solutions providers, and systems integrators are the true unsung heroes of enterprise IT, a leading industry analyst has claimed.
Santhosh H Rao, Gartner Gulf’s principal research analyst, believes that too many vendors fail to deliver on their promises to customers, as well as overselling their own importance in the technology ecosystem.
“Vendors promise the moon, but they don’t always deliver on those promises,” Rao said. “They create a lot of hype, and make promises that are theoretically possible, but no single vendor can claim they’re an end-to-end solutions provider. They can provide end-to-end services through acquisitions or engineering products themselves, but are they up to the mark, and do they address business requirements? Not really.
“A cloud provider can claim that they have expertise in a particular vertical, but how can they truly have that expertise unless they’ve been in that industry for a long time? It has to be a collaborative effort.”
Rao went on to add that the work of systems integrators is crucial in a world that demands more complicated, collaborative technology solutions.
“The SI’s role is becoming increasingly important. It’s the SI who makes a solution look good, not the vendor. Vendors provide the frameworks, tools and technology, but SIs and enterprises make them a reality. They all work hand in hand to ensure a project’s success.”
Artificial intelligence is one such area that Rao believes will need the input of several important stakeholders, and one that cannot be provided by vendors alone. Gartner believes that artificial intelligence falls into two main camps – artificial general intelligence, and narrow artificial intelligence.
“Artificial general intelligence is in its early stages,” Rao said. “Mainstream AI – AI with common sense and self-learning – is maybe 10-15 years away. Narrow AI is currently at the peak of inflated expectation, and this primarily comprises things like chatbots.”
Rao said that a key factor behind this future adoption lag is the lack of technical expertise among SIs that is needed to get AI off the ground. “There’s always a lot of pressure on the systems integrator to make technology work, and their skills are currently not up to the task with AI and IoT projects,” Rao said. “SIs are traditionally used to box selling, and for more complex projects, a lot of automation and specialism are needed.”