Business Times

More firefighting rather than efficiency in local IT

Most IT personnel are so used to "firefighting" problems that they do not accomplish the real objectives of IT budgets which are allocated to make their organisations more efficient; according to Peter Peiris, Group Manager - Enterprise Solutions & Team Apple, DMS Electronics.

A Rs. 1 billion turnover company, DMS's main business is its sale of enterprise software to corporates, most (90%) on Microsoft platforms. This is on HP hardware with it being a "Tier 1" partner of HP's. The company also sells point of sale computers to supermarkets, is the equipment supplier for the 160 terabyte Dialog call centre facility and provides outsourced IT servicing locally for clients such as Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsch Bank and apparel manufacturer Brandix.

More recently, DMS has also entered the highly competitive Personal Computer market, a business it intends to grow in the future. One unique aspect of its sales to end consumer is its sole stake in the local Apple computers niche market with sales of just 15-20 units a month where products are priced at Rs. 110,000 upwards, which is for the Mac Mini that is sold without a monitor, a keyboard or a mouse.
Says Mr. Peiris, in relations to demand for his company's services, "our hands are full".

A situation in part achieved because of a pre- global financial crisis decision taken by DMS management to only take on business where customers were willing to make a 50% down payment. This in conjunction with greater austerity measures including becoming more frugal with expenses, etc. As such, he notes that the company had not felt the recession, even breaking even, with its performance also facilitating an ongoing renovation of the company's Dharmapala Mawatha (Colombo 7) headquarters as well as ramping up staff in anticipation of more opportunities in 2010.

Having recently been recognised with one of Microsoft's Best Managed Partner awards, DMS's future plans include further leveraging this highly successful segment of its business by exporting its Microsoft expertise to Bangladesh, Brunei and the Maldives. It plans to do this with its existing resources, including its present staff strength of 200 which encompasses 80% IT services professionals; and "be smarter with one engineer handling two to three customers", according to Mr. Peiris. The company also plans to further expand in the more high-end enterprise and servers segments of the local computer industry. It has also revealed its intention to go further a field in the retail segment, specifically targetting Colombo as a first step.

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