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Let's Get IT Right

New quarter, new year, new budget, new objectives. The air is positively redolent with possibility. For many, it's a time to work toward getting more things right, to do less of what doesn't work and more of what does.

For storage customers, that means holding vendors' feet to the fire to derive more bang from their storage buck. It means automating more functions, or even outsourcing them. It's abundantly clear that customers have a wide scope of challenges ahead of them in this new year. (See 2006: Storage Users to Watch.)

As we reported, General Motors has four vendors on pins and needles awaiting $15 billion in IT work, which almost certainly has to have data management and storage components. GM, always rather future-forward where using technology as a strategic differentiator is concerned, will be looking for the lucky vendor(s) to get lots of things right for that kind of money.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM are apparently in the running, as are CapGemini and Electronic Data Systems (not exactly the first names you think of when it comes to storage), even though EDS has most of GM's business now. Clearly, the automaker's initiative is more about massive integration and getting systems and applications to do things that may not come naturally. But you can also be sure that wider accessibility to petabytes of internal data figures highly among its requirements.My own take is that $15 billion buys you one helluva blank slate. And while GM has been weaning itself away from EDS for a while now, the systems integrator still gets about half of all GM's IT business. The supply contract is EDS's to lose. A second and/or even a third officially recognized vendor will serve to keep everyone more honest.

Here's to honesty and wringing more performance from vendors in 2006.

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