The examination of content management services by eWeek Labs in this issue should inspire both buyers and sellers of enterprise IT to think about what might trigger the next wave of productive technology investment.
For decades, the industry has been driven by Moores Law, which predicts doubling device counts every 18 months and the price/performance breakthroughs that follow from this trend. But its easy to wonder if hardware performance has gotten too far ahead of application design and if users are merely being confused or annoyed more quickly than they were the year before. Lackluster demand for such innovations as Intels Itanium supports this suspicion.
More recently, the industrys co-driver has been the less well-known Metcalfes Law, which holds that the value of a network rises with the square of the number of users. As networks approach ubiquity, though, one finds that some users cost more to serve than others. Both vendors and system administrators find a rising percentage of their budgets supporting those who are least able, or least inclined, to solve their own problems.
With the cost of a single service call threatening the entire profit from a PC sale, and with enterprises spending almost twice as much on user support than they do on developing the applications that create competitive advantage, the industry must learn to tell the difference between healthy and malignant growth.
A solution to this dilemma is compelling content. It must be administered cheaply enough so that its possible to keep online resources up-to-date; it must be accessible to users who will use it to answer their questions without costly and time-consuming support.
When falling prices put new, more powerful technology on every desk, in every home and on the way to being in every pocket, we cant keep depending on Woody Allens Law, that 90 percent of success is just showing up—in this case, with the new technology.
Enterprises must create the kind of content that sells products, enhances services and builds supply chain loyalty. That will generate new business that will justify further investment in IT—which may well include new technology but which will, above all else, include increased productivity.