Giga Taps 10 Key IT Trends for 2003By CIOinsight | Posted 10-10-2002
What are the most important things CIOs should be thinking about over the next year? The following points detail the 10 key trends, according to Giga Information Group, that top IT professionals should keep in mind. Follow the links for a more detailed trend analysis in Adobe Acrobat format.
No dramatic economic recovery. The speed at which the anticipated recovery plays out will be the most important and widespread macro-economic driver for the industry today and for the near-term future. Recent studies show prospects for modest 2 percent to 4 percent increases in IT budgets over last yearalthough more recent news is less sanguine. In every case, pressures to squeeze more value out of existing resources will remain high, and companies will continue to focus on increasing client retention and profit per customer.
Economic fundamentalism on the part of technology purchasers. Customers will remain focused on short-term financial justification of IT investments, and investments that can demonstrate quick payback will be chosen over those that can't. At the same time, previous investments in major systems are being scrutinized, and implementers are increasingly being asked to prove that the systems have delivered on their promise. Cost is just one factor along with value, risk and flexibility, but it is now very definitely "first among equals."
Increasingly mobile work force.
This long-term trend will continue, supported by improving networks and devices, and influenced by a very real post-Sept. 11 desire to reduce business travel. Increasing use of virtual meetings, video conferencing, Instant Messaging and other advanced collaboration techniques are clearly continuing.
Demand for improved security. The frequency of both damaging cyberattacks and a flood of high-profile security holes in common products, with a strong focus on Microsoft offerings, has increased awareness of security. Part of the fallout from this has been that Microsoft has now publicly stated that security will take priority over new functions in future software developments.
Overall reduction in demand and associated cost for IT staff, but continued high demand in key skill areas. Though the demand for IT people has shrunk, the demand for skills in key areas, such as project management, data, security and Java development, will stay high. Overall, the rate of increase in IT salaries is expected to continue its recent trend of year-over-year declines, settling in at around 4 percent for the year ahead.
Vendor drama. The effect of the acquisition of Compaq by H-P has rippled throughout the industry, but not as profoundly as we initially had envisioned. Meanwhile, IBM has made an aggressiveand so far largely successfulbid to forge its software business into a single force, and in so doing has made great inroads in most of its software markets. And the largely unexpected transformation of Enron, WorldCom and others from valuable companies into high-profile road-kill will have significant downstream effects on many segments of the industry.
Beyond transactions. The age of transactions is winding to a closenot because transactions are no longer necessary, but because transaction-based operational efficiency is no longer enough to ensure market-leading performance. In the near term, broader planning solutions as well as business process management and better use of analytics, will begin to put the "so what" and why into enterprise actions. Longer term, look for a whole new class of applications that sit above today's operational systems and coordinate actions, priorities, and next steps across systems, departments and organizations.
Platform and integration strategies are key.
The industry has settled on two major application platform choices: Java and .NET, and these two will provide by far the greatest opportunity for efficient and effective application delivery. A continual pursuit of business optimization will push applications closer together and keep integration high on the priority list. Web Services have great potential, but they are not yet mature enough to meet all integration requirements. IT shops will have to build integration architectures that meet today's complex requirements while leaving options open for future integration solutions based on open Web Services standards.
Increased focus on user self-service. Another trend that we see developing is the acceleration of the implementation of user self-service across a number of sectors, including retail, financial services and banking, and insurance, as well as for customer support across a wide spectrum of technology products. The underlying driver is a combination of continued pressures on cost and the desire to improve the customer experience in environments where long customer waits can lead to frustration and perceptions of poor service.
Focus on finances. The new visibility and regulatory impact of massive financial problems will continue, forcing a focus on applications and projects to improve financial systems integration and increase visibility into corporate performance. Now that CEOs and CFOs need to certify the results of public companies, the CIO who becomes their best friend will prosperand will have commensurately more power and influence.