Businesses to tech suppliers: 'We don't trust you anymore'

Tech decision makers are running out of patience, according to research that says there is a "semi-dysfunctional relationship" between CIOs and their integrators and resellers.

Businesses don't trust their suppliers to make the correct decisions about which technologies to choose for projects, and feel stifled by their limited portfolio and failure to understand customers' needs.

According to research conducted by analyst house Ovum, there is a "semi-dysfunctional relationship" between the enterprise and their systems integrators and resellers, which don't have enough technology in their portfolios to satisfy businesses' current needs, "let alone future developments in areas like social media and BYOD".

The Integrate Britain report, commissioned by TalkTalk Business, surveyed CIOs and their procurement executives in 200 large public and private sector organisations across the UK on their relationship with suppliers.   

It found that "significant frustrations" exist because integrators and resellers fail to understand and act on customers' business needs, noting: "Although cost inevitably dominates the conversation, the concerns go much deeper and point towards an inherent mistrust towards the channel that is intensifying rather than dissipating."

Tech decision makers want more transparency from their suppliers and a say in the vendor selection process "suggesting that the era of cosy preferred supplier arrangements is over for vendors and resellers", it said. The report warned that integrators and resellers insist on sticking to "rigid product portfolios that starve clients of much needed innovation and value for money".

While CIOs want to use integrators because of their project management expertise and ability to bring in projects on time and to budget, half of CIOs also said they don't just want to know which vendors are working on a project, but want to be involved in the selection of them too. A mere four percent said they would let the integrator take control.

"This is undoubtedly a troubling trend and points towards a malfunctioning channel that is suffering from a defensive mentality and, therefore, a lack of perceived transparency," said the report.

Half of the CIOs said they would insist on particular technologies when faced with suppliers that lacked an understanding of their business, or who were not clear about pricing and delivery."This, of course, is why many clients are resorting to either predetermining their own preferred suppliers, or becoming actively involved in their partner's ecosystem selection. In short, it seems that they don't always trust the channel to do the right thing."

Most enterprise CIOs, 58 percent, said they are constrained by their supplier's technology choices. The report said this limitation is likely to be the result of long-term commitments to preferred vendor relationships based on exclusivity arrangements and favourable commercial terms.

But these long-term relationships could become a liability as CIOs are more involved with selecting vendors. "The preferred supplier model is on borrowed time," the report warned.

Two-thirds of respondents said they wanted more flexibility within existing product portfolios, while a similar proportion, 58 percent, also want their suppliers to prove they are choosing the right tech by providing evidence of benchmarking.

The report noted: "Enterprises have little appetite and patience for partners that provide standard or even sub-standard, off-the-shelf solutions."


Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of


The CIO is party to the company's Business decisions, therefore only the CIO can understand the company's Business objectives and articulate them for the supplier(s).


Here's the thing, rather than looking at BYOD and suppliers as the security threat, why not move towards inbuilt security. There's plenty of options today to make it secure, powerful and yet lean ( gone are the days when multiple firewalls and anti-virus programs would bog you down and not let you access ESPN at work!). Also , clear SLA and good quality device verticals which can be used for multiple purposes are effective both on ROI and velocity counts. And besides, if you give your employees enough tools to work with within their BYOD range, and transparent security policies, I don't see why that'd impede their experience.


OK ... so I take this as dissuasion. The invention of the Internet and the World Wide Web has changed the way we do things in our Western Civilization and although people might think we're crazy, I still have my pride and dignity. The Tweeters and the Facebookers might have something against me, that's fine ... I won't use their services and I will stay away from these online organizations. I better disconnect from this website, that warning you just gave me should be taken seriously, nobody wants his computer to die.
They might think I'm ignorant but we all know what really happened for this day to be possible.

DataArt UK
DataArt UK

Interesting article, and raises interesting questions and problems. What are the reasons for the channel to be breaking up and CIOs wanting to be more and more involved?

From where I stand – having spent 20 years in IT, mostly on the software development vendor side – the reason is that technology is no longer supplementing business. It has become an essential part of the business, in a lot of ways it IS business. CIOs and CTOs are a lot more tech savvy and naturally want to be involved more with technology projects undertaken by vendors and partners, as well as to be able to influence these projects. Not many vendors are prepared to do that, for the simple reason that “we worked without it before and do not want it now”. Too bad for them as they will perish :)

Dmitry Bagrov, MD, DataArt UK

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