CIOs remain doubtful of vendor innovation: analyst

CIOs remain doubtful of vendor innovation: analyst

Vendor and customer innovation along different lines

Despite increasing vendor hype surrounding innovation in IT, enterprise IT leaders remain sceptical over whether it can deliver, according to analyst firm Ovum.

While details of Ovum's research were not disclosed, the company claims to have conducted "in-depth discussions" with 11 "major western and Indian IT players" regarding innovation that revealed most vendors have different and often conflicting ideas as to how they think end-users define innovation.

The research also indicated different stakeholders involved also seem to have different expectations from vendors in terms of innovation.

Ovum claims the use of the word "innovation" has grown dramatically among IT services vendors in the last six months, however it seems that both clients and the vendors within IT services have different ideas as to what innovation is, and what it should deliver.

Ovum's IT services practice leader Angel Dobardziev said the challenge is in the mismatch of vendor-client expectations and in the limitations of the contractual arrangements, which often means that the clients can be unhappy even when vendors deliver on all of the agreed metrics.

"Clients will talk about, and demand, innovation, but what they are really after are outcomes," Dobardziev said. "Vendors should focus on these desired outcomes and take time to understand the different and often conflicting needs of various client stakeholders."

Ovum recommends all parties involved must work closely together every step of the way, from defining innovation expectations to agreeing to the measures to track progress.

This will mean ensuring an equitable approach to the "sometimes tricky" issues of risk-reward and intellectual property in innovative engagements, according to the company.

"If you really want valuable innovation to be delivered as everyone expects, the deal should be treated as a partnership," Dobardziev said. "It's not enough just to say that a vendor-client relationship is strategic, you have to be prepared to invest in the relationship - if you don't, then you'll have an old-style customer-supplier relationship on your hands."

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