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Success leaves clues for enterprises to follow

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 3, 2009
What do Ferrari, VMware, Apple and Sybase have in common?

One of my favourite movies is The Life of Brian produced in 1979 by the British comedy team Monty Python. At the time, critics described it as a motion picture destined to offend nearly two thirds of the civilized world, and severely annoy the other third.

The song, which was the finale of the movie, was Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, and if you want a bit of a chuckle, you should check it out and listen to the lyrics.

The reason I raise this, is that the song could very well be a good theme to the current economic downturn. It seems that every day in the past few months, we have been bombarded with negative stories about job losses, restructuring and falling profits.

So much so, that it would be very easy to overlook some recent successes which demonstrate that yes, some enterprises are indeed still doing very well, despite the credit crunch. In the interests of balance and maintaining a positive outlook, I want to highlight some of these successes here:

Ferrari: While many US car makers saw profits and sales plummet in 2008, Italian luxury car manufacturer Ferrari bucked the trend and recorded its best year for sales, earnings and profits. This prompted one industry observer to say that Everyone wants to save money and cut costs, but nobody wants to cut back on value.  This observer said: Value is always assessed by the buyer not the seller. If you are a value product or service, and can show that value from the perspective of the customer, they will always find the money. When you are a premium value product and you charge appropriately, the number of customers you require is nowhere near as large. Perhaps theres a message here for senior IT executives too. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo told the end of year media conference that: "Enzo Ferrari said to me in the 1970s fuel crisis we would always find 1500 people crazy enough to buy a Ferrari. Adjusting the numbers for 2009, I think that we'll continue to find 6000 people crazy enough to buy a Ferrari."

VMWare: Virtualisation solutions provider VMWare achieved annual revenue growth of 42 per cent in 2008 to $1.9 Billion. Paul Maritz, president and chief executive officer of Vmware said that his firms customers continue to make VMware a strategic priority because our solutions used by more than 130,000 customers help reduce capital and operational costs. In 2008, we made strategic investments in our technology, partnerships and business operations that position us well for 2009 and beyond, continued Maritz. We are making solid progress on our three key initiatives to build on our virtualization leadership in the datacenter, the cloud and on the desktop. We are executing on our product roadmap, strengthening our ecosystem of partners, and bolstering our management team both globally and operationally.  VMware is well-prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead. For the first quarter of 2009, VMware is planning for total revenues of approximately US$475 million. Is they key to Vmares success making strategic investments when everybody else is cutting back?


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