Real Time Plays Lead in Tomorrows Enterprise

It will be the development of products and services that will make the idea a reality.

Ready for the real-time enterprise? Where real-time operations were once the province of nuclear power plants and mission-critical manufacturing processes, the real-time concept has been sneaking into the vocabulary of the "next big thing" technology futurists. The most recent explanation Ive heard was during a presentation by Creative Strategies President Tim Bajarin at a CRM expo in New York last week.

In Bajarins view, a combination of standards-based integrated applications and wireless devices will let corporate "corridor warriors" always know the financial health of their companies, suppliers and customers. Tims presentation is available at, and I think he is on to something as a better way to describe the emerging business landscape without getting lost in Web services jargon.

The emergence of a real-time business, or Web services or whatever it is called, will also call for a new set of IT skills. Graduates looking to get their careers under way and longtime IT pros who find themselves on the wrong end of the downsizing equation are facing a very difficult employment market. The lead article in our Labs section this week "Lining Up for Jobs," looks at the IT skills that will really count over the coming year.

And as this issue appears during the Labor Day holiday, our editorial board took the opportunity to discuss the role of labor in a technology-driven business environment (see "Skilled Labor: A Key IT Resource"). As our editorial states, "it has been easy to lose sight of the primacy of labor in the noisy chaos of constant innovation." The importance of the employee in an economy where the common tactic has been to downsize without restraint has too often been forgotten.

While the idea of a real-time business is interesting, it will be the development of products and services that will turn the idea from a PowerPoint presentation to a reality. In this weeks issue, we include articles on several products that are pointing the way to real time.

In his review of the Oracle9i Application Server, Timothy Dyck looks at a product that will be key for many companies with real-time business aspirations. Oracle would like to provide one-stop shopping for custom portal development or building document management systems. The application server is the heart of these types of projects, and Tim does a good job exploring the capabilities of this release.

What other technologies do you think may play key roles in the IT industry of tomorrow? Write to me at