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Security A Major Concern For Technology Sector In 2004

Security solutions and outsourcing rank among the top issues for the year


December 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

During 2004, technology-related businesses scrambled to tap into a more service-oriented market where those who offered complete technological solutions were able to thrive and grow.

In an effort to take advantage of this increased demand for service, many companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft, Oracle, and PeopleSoft have implemented outsourcing services, and established local offices or expanded existing ones.

According to industry experts, this year technology companies sought to empower businesses beyond the traditional supplier-customer relationship to fully exploit the power of technology in pursuit of higher levels of efficiency and a more competitive position. Technology businesses not only looked for better ways to attract and retain customers, but also did their best to anticipate their customers’ needs and adapt to new security demands and trends.

"The fundamental idea is that the consumers aren’t concerned as much about the characteristics and technical elements, but rather about the levels of services that can be provided," said Martin Castillo, general manager at Hewlett-Packard (HP).

This year, HP transferred its Latin American sales offices to Puerto Rico to take advantage not only of the island’s strategic position within Latin America, but also the expertise of its technology professionals. The local HP operation now manages the sales & marketing for the company’s third-largest region in Latin America, which consists of Central America, the Caribbean, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico. The region was previously managed by the company’s Houston office.

"This reorganization allows us to optimize resources, meet our clients’ needs more quickly, and lend more support to our [distribution] channels. It also contributes to our efforts to retain our leadership position in the region," said Haroldo Level, vice president & director of HP for Latin America. "The local team’s experience and Castillo’s leadership will be key to HP’s continued evolution and our ability to enhance offerings while developing new business opportunities for our partners in these countries."

For companies such as Oracle, 2004 was a year of change, challenges, and controversy. It was during this year that Oracle not only launched several products in an aggressive approach to meet market needs, but also set out to purchase the stock of its competitor PeopleSoft Inc.

The takeover attempt created a year-long controversy during which the U.S. Department of Justice advised the company to cease the takeover, as it could lead to an anticompetitive market that would affect the industry and therefore the consumer. However, after several offers to stockholders and court battles aimed at proceeding with the takeover, Oracle wound up signing a definitive merger agreement to acquire PeopleSoft Inc., for $26.50 per share (approximately $10.3 billion). The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies and should close by early January 2005.

In December, Oracle announced a 14% increase in the sale of its software licenses and overall company growth of 10%.

"These numbers have surpassed Oracle’s expectations and we see it as a result of a solid performance in all divisions," said Miguel Ralat, general manager of Oracle Caribbean.

According to the company, this year, Oracle Caribbean has accomplished some of its most important closings within the private and public sectors, and has increased its client-base to include 29 government agencies. Included in these public agencies are the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco) and Puerto Rico Tourism Co., among others.

Security takes center stage

With the creation of new improved communications technologies, where information travels not only through local networks, but also via the Internet, airwaves, and mobile devices, new security issues have emerged, manifesting themselves in the form of new viruses, hacker threats, and even insider sabotage. Companies such as Microsoft created whole new divisions to not only fight these growing threats, but also to educate and inform consumers about how to protect themselves and their businesses.

"As security issues became paramount to the IT industry, we took a daring step two years ago in introducing the Trustworthy Computing Initiative, which represented a long-term commitment and unparalleled vision in changing the way people experience and rely on IT," said Mariloli Baragaño, marketing manager for Microsoft Caribbean Central America region.

"I am really excited to see how far we have come and even more enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead. We’ve made great progress in education and readiness, dissemination of tools and best practices," said Baragaño.

"Microsoft has continued to grow and fortify its presence on the island. In 2004, I had the honor of becoming the first woman general manager during a time in which Microsoft was celebrating the 10th anniversary of its sales and marketing division in Puerto Rico," said Baragaño. "Since that time, we have grown from a handful of employees to 80. We continue to grow, particularly through the addition of technical consultants that strengthen our support to clients and partners in the implementation of Microsoft solutions. Since Microsoft created the local Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) division in February of last year, our number of clients has grown to 400.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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