Tough Times Call for Both Caution and Innovation

By Debra Donston  |  Posted 2002-11-18

Staying abreast of IT opportunity while deftly allocating limited resources is the No. 1 challenge for IT professionals and the pragmatic focus of this special report on the coming years outlook for core technologies.

Market analysts say were in a period of correction, with the no-no early 00s balancing out the go-go late 90s—averaging out, in 2003, to an outlook decidedly so-so. Tough going, to be sure, but not without targets of opportunity.

In his story "Doing More With Less," Executive Editor Stan Gibson reports that IT professionals are mostly assuming a defensive posture. But technology is not standing still, and neither is spending, said the IT executives Gibson interviewed.

The watchword is caution: Projects are getting smaller and must have immediately demonstrable return on investment. IT budgets have a sharp consolidation bent, and new projects are aimed at streamlining processes and getting and keeping customers. Server consolidation, CRM and wireless are just a few of the projects on the 2003 agenda. Although the economy may not be conducive to going out on a technology limb right now, IT professionals arent just sitting back and waiting for things to get better. There will be a lot of belt-tightening next year, but it also will be a time of rigorous technology evaluation.

Many eWeek Corporate Partners who participated in a recent roundtable discussion moderated by Technology Editor Peter Coffee said up-and-comers such as Web services and the Tablet PC are not in their budgets for next year but that they will be testing and listening for feedback from early adopters.

Likewise, the vendor community continues to test, evolve and innovate technology. Coffee spoke with researchers and technology executives at Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM and Microsoft Corp. They predict an evolution in the very model of data interaction, with all the productivity gains and security problems that implies.

Heres to putting technology to the ultimate test in 2003—helping to keep the enterprise strategically positioned for the years ahead.

Tech Outlook 2003 Table of Contents

Doing More With Less
IT professionals are looking at the new year with an eye toward stretching limited resources. Executives from publishing, advertising, finance, manufacturing and government industries discuss the initiatives that are getting the OK for 2003.

IT Pros Discuss 2003 Concerns
eWEEKs Corporate Partner Advisory Board discusses the increasingly difficult challenge of creating competitive advantage with limited budgets.

Hiring: From Sad to Glad
Things dont look like theyll be getting better soon on the hiring front, but some experts say there are reasons to be optimistic for a better IT job market next year.

Data Model Evolution
Whats the future of technology? eWEEK Labs takes a look into the tech crystal ball with five research and technology industry gurus from Sun, IBM and Microsoft.

eWEEK Labs Picks Best Technology Bets
eWEEK Labs takes a look at the products, technologies, standards and practices that will have the most enterprise impact in 2003.

Survey Says ...
Polls conducted at reveal significant use of virtual meeting technology, a variety of weapons in the war against spam, wireless data transmission fears and more.

Rocket Fuel