ICT Trends in 2003

Today, many organizations depend on ICT infrastructure. Acquiring knowledge about coming trends is an important part of the management decision process. The following 10 key points detail the trends expected in 2003, according to Forrester.

No significant recovery of ICT budgets

Recent studies show modest 2 to 4 percent expected increases in IT budgets. Most organizations want to squeeze more value out of existing resources and focus on increasing client retention and profit per customer.

ROI of ICT investments is key

Short-term financial return on ICT investments is now an essential part of business strategy. New investments that can demonstrate quick payback will get priority over those that can't. Previous ICT investments are being analyzed: Consultants, trainers, implementers, outsourcing firms and services providers and employees are asked to prove that the investments deliver on their promise. Cost is now very definitely "first among equals". Value, risk and flexibility are still important criteria, but not on top of the list anymore.

Mobile work force increasingly important

This long-term mobility trend will continue, supported by improving networks and devices, and influenced by a desire to reduce business travel. Use of advanced collaboration techniques like virtual meetings, video conferencing and Instant Messaging is clearly increasing.

Demand for improved ICT security increases

The growing frequency and complexity of damaging cyber attacks, hacking threats, virus attacks and a flood of high-profile security holes in ICT products, with a strong focus on Microsoft offerings, has increased manager's awareness of security. Microsoft has now publicly stated that security will take priority over new features in future software. Most enterprises will increase their security budget and spending.

Reduction in demand and costs for IT staff

Though the demand for ICT people has shrunk, the demand for skills in key areas, such as project management, security, data and Java development, will stay high. Overall, the rate of increase in IT salaries is expected to settle in at around 4 percent for the year ahead.

Consolidation trend among ICT vendors continues

The effect of the acquisition of Compaq by HP has rippled throughout the industry. Meanwhile, IBM forges its software business into a single force, and continues to become the largest ICT services company in the world. Dell increases its market share in many areas: computers, servers, printers, PDA's, networking solutions and ICT services.

Customer Relationship Management, Business Process Management and Business Intelligence increasingly important

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 based on business intelligence, will become essential in enterprise business. Longer term, look for a new class of collaboration applications that sit above today's operational systems and coordinate actions, priorities, and next steps across information systems, departments and organizations.

Platform and integration strategies are key

The industry has settled on two major operating systems platforms, Unix/Linux and Windows, and two major application platforms, Java and .NET. These four platforms 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 very high on the priority list. Web Services have great potential but are not yet mature enough to meet all integration requirements. ICT firms will have to build integration architectures meeting today's complex requirements, while open for future integration solutions based on open Web Services standards.

Increased focus on user self-service

Implementation of user self-service is accelerating across sectors, including retail, financial services and banking, and insurance. Implementation of customer self-service is also accelerating for customer support across a wide spectrum of technology products. Drivers are the continued pressures on costs, and the desire to improve the customer experience in environments where long customer waits lead to frustration, perceptions of poor service and customer losses.

Focus on financial systems integration and corporate business performance visibility

The new regulatory impact and visibility of massive financial problems will continue. These will force a focus on applications and projects improving financial systems integration and increasing visibility into corporate performance. Now that CEO's and CFO's need to certify the results of public companies, the CIO could become their best friend and have more power and influence.



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