SMEs get CIO-on-call

Samantha Perry
By Samantha Perry, co-founder of WomeninTechZA
Johannesburg, 12 Dec 2007

Amalgam IT Partners, founded and headed by Simon Hudson, will launch in January as a specialist service provider to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"Information technology decisions for most SMEs," says Hudson, "are often not driven by the business`s strategy, but by short-term point requirements, by technical staff who have no insight into the company`s strategic direction, or by suppliers who are motivated by their own interests."

Amalgam aims to offer "open, honest, experienced, independent and impartial CIO and CTO services on a shared basis by providing a 'CIO-on-call` to represent its customers publicly in the role and to help them to ensure their IT strategy is driven by their business strategy and not the other way round," he states.

The company will launch in January, although a draft Web site has already gone live. Hudson says services will cost between R15 000 and R20 000 per month, and be offered on a service level agreement basis with defined deliverables, agreed with each client upfront (as each may have different specific needs) and properly measured.

Hudson says he has already identified a number of individuals who will assist from a consulting perspective, and is in discussions with Rentworks around the provision of value-added services, such as rental finance/leasing options.

"Amalgam has no vested interests and no preferred suppliers, and rather concentrates on understanding what a business`s strategy is and how its IT function can and should support it through a focus on operational excellence, IT/business alignment and process transformation in order to allow the business to pursue innovation for competitive advantage."

Hudson notes: "Unless specifically requested, Amalgam also does not directly oversee or manage a customer`s technical systems as we believe that this is best left to in-house staff who understand the company`s immediate IT requirements. Ideally, we participate in all IT decision-making processes, up to executive level, that relate to realisation of the business value of an IT function."