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What's in the next ICT wave?

What's in the next ICT wave?

The next big thing is not going to be a new bell or a new whistle or next generation architecture, but productivity benefits for users

In our technological age there is a special fascination with directions of technologies and their perceived impacts on our lives in the future. The Internet has been a driving force. The technologies to build systems to make them faster, capable of handling and moving large and larger amounts of information, have developed to help drive growth. New applications are appearing all the time to entice organisations into new ways of using IT.

A Gartner report this year summarised among, other things, the types of changes that are expected in technology and customer expectations. It predicted that in the next two years at least one of the top five IT professional services providers worldwide will have sufficiently mastered the use of SOA and Web services to alter permanently the cost structure of traditional outsourcing and systems integration. The report also predicted that in the same timeframe SOA and Web services will reduce the demand for package implementation services, resulting in the demise of 15 per cent of existing SI vendors!

Merely half a dozen years ago, most integration was done by hand-coding interfaces between systems point-to-point. Solutions were extremely expensive, time-consuming, and non-adaptable. Adding or changing a system required changes in several other systems. Today there are so many integration technologies that even knowing where to begin becomes a challenge.

As the IT industry matures and rapidly consolidates one can wonder which vendors will emerge and what types of approaches the wave of mergers and consolidations will bring about. What will distinguish the contenders from the pretenders?

Yet as the IT market consolidates and matures it may become easier to predict the future, according to AMR Research. With fewer preferred vendors, more flexible business models, business process as a service, and with increased pressure to match offshore pricing for future services, there will be many challenges but also many opportunities by the time the next wave hits -- and it has a forecast dateline of 2010!

As the pace of business change continues to accelerate organisations need to be increasingly agile in the face of sudden market shifts, new competition, globalisation, changing customer behaviours, mergers and acquisitions, and evolving technologies and standards.

Companies will benefit from trends that lower the cost of maintaining existing systems to allow for a higher percentage of spending on new projects or innovation -- even with flat spending overall. The interesting thing now is that technology has become inexpensive enough for widespread deployment. The new thing is not going to be a new bell or a new whistle or next generation architecture, but the productivity benefits that users will realise through the use of technology.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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