SHARE Seeks Better Collaboration Tech in 2006

The user group's president, Robert Rosen, presents his wish list for the year ahead, including improved IM and e-mail, and enterprise-ready open source.

What does an IT professional wish for? Although it would have been a bit silly for veteran IT pro and president of the SHARE user group Robert Rosen to compose a list for Santa, speaking for SHARE members, he said he does have some desires that he would like to see fulfilled in the year ahead.

In addition to being president of SHARE, Rosen is CIO of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is also an eWEEK Corporate Partner.

Although SHARE was created by and for users of IBM systems, the wishes of the SHARE membership cover a broader spectrum than just matters related to Big Blue.

At the top of the list are improvements to collaboration systems, most notably e-mail—the basic lifeline of many businesses that, Rosen said, is plagued by wasted bandwidth and data storage due to excess traffic.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCompanies are fighting to keep e-mail useful. Click here to read more.

"We need relief from IP-based applications like e-mail and IM [instant messaging]," Rosen said, adding that improved identity management is also essential. "We need accountability and authentication, without compromising confidentiality."

As to where relief might be coming from, Rosen said he doesnt expect to see it from ISPs, which, he says, "are not really interested in dealing with the issue because they think it will increase their costs."

Rosen also said he thinks legislators may be tempted to weigh in: "Congress will get themselves involved, although they are not very good at legislating technology. We need to police ourselves."

A practical improvement Rosen said he would like to see is what he calls interoperable calendaring, or the ability of colleagues to collaborate among themselves in office buildings and campuses by synchronizing PCs, PDAs and cell phones. He noted that the Internet Engineering Task Force is working on such a project.

Rosen said advances in open source would be a welcome sight in the year ahead, adding that he expects to see increased sophistication and enterprise-worthiness of open-source software in 2006.

He said he expects Red Hat Inc., Novell Inc. and other providers to come up with Linux that "installs right out of the box" in the year ahead.

Glancing over his shoulder at the year past, Rosen said he was appalled by the Sony Corp. rootkit DRM (digital rights management) fiasco. "We know people play CDs in the office just like they play the radio. How many have those rootkits installed?" he asked. As a result, a more intelligent approach to DRM is also high on the SHARE members list.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Sonys rootkit DRM troubles.

According to Rosen, outsourcing is not a pressing concern for SHARE members, many of whom are at the highest levels of IT within their companies.

"The outsourcing bugaboo seems to have lessened. If you are going to be a down-in-the-ditches pure programmer, then you can get caught up in outsourcing, but if you are bringing value to the business, then you are not going to get outsourced," Rosen said.

As one of his own personal wishes, Rosen said hed like to see advances in so-called digital paper, so that a reader could be presented with an electronic newspaper in an 8.5 by 11-inch format. And finally, Rosen said, "The biggest thing we could wish for is a breather so we can deal with all the changes."

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