Integrate, update or evaporate. as the year closes and companies try to develop a technology strategy for an uncertain economy, those words might be the mantra you want to remember.
The days of companies embarking on big, new, company-changing technology projects are over for now. The focus is on integrating the operations you have, monitoring those operations and extending them where they make sense. In this weeks issue, John S. McCright and Renee Boucher Ferguson talk with Wolfgang Kemna, the CEO of SAP America, about SAPs new role as a middleware developer. SAP was the classic "Do it my way or the highway" company and now finds itself promoting its expertise in the middleware domain, where success is measured by the ability to integrate applications from lots of vendors. Also, see John Tascheks column as he dissects Oracles claims of application server leadership. SAP and Oracle have recognized that success in the future will be measured by providing integration engines rather than custom systems all from one vendor.
Delivering product upgrades used to be a good way for a vendor to drive revenues. Promise lots of new features, add a couple of traps that make previous versions incompatible with the latest and greatest, and drive your sales force to get lots of boxes in users hands. That does not work anymore. Upgrades now require a vendor to deliver some real value not just in the box but also in the services associated with the upgrade. In this issue, Henry Baltazar reviews NetWare 6 from Novell. Novell holds the record for the most attempts at new product directions. In the end, Novell builds a good, maybe great, network operating system that, combined with its acquisition of Cambridge Technology Partners, may allow the company to offer the right combination of product and services.
The other driving aspect of updating is updating your IT security. The cornerstone of security is knowing who has access to what services and being alerted when those access rules are violated. Jim Rapoza reviews two such access control systems in this weeks issue. In our Strategies section, Matt Hicks delves into the metrics programs some users are implementing to develop security audits. While you are doing your auditing, you might want to make sure your software applications are fully licensed and you arent using a bunch of hijacked software downloaded from some Warez site. Last week, the government started a crackdown on Warez hackers that is sure to continue.
To evaporate is what your company risks if it decides to do nothing with the IT infrastructure. Hoping that you can make it another year by doing nothing is not a good strategy in business, sports or life. While you dont have the budget to do a top-to-bottom revamp, you need the freedom to make the best use of what you have and lock down the digital assets upon which your companys lifeblood runs.
What mantra are you following? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.