IT Budget Spending Takes Dollars and Sense

Vendors must introduce products now that execs will be buying as spending recovers.

What would you do with a $2 billion (yes, billion) IT budget? Revamp your entire computer infrastructure? Offer Web-based services that forever distance you from the competition? Outsource the whole thing and put cash back in the corporate till?

In this weeks issue, Stan Gibson interviews an exec who is key in spending that budget, making sure Fidelity Investments gets the most bang for its IT dollar, even if those dollars add up to billions. Steve Elterich, president of Fidelity eBusiness, manages development of an information infrastructure that addresses some of the weightiest computing issues facing corporations. Secure? Any system dealing with the finances of many thousands of investors must be confidential and safe. Flexible? With the economy in a constant round of ups and (lately) downs, being able to offer intelligent advice for a range of products is a must. Scale? The transaction capabilities of the system must be able to handle those market ups and downs without fail. To find out how some of that $2 billion will be spent to accomplish those computer goals, see Stans interview on Page 16.

One technology area Elterich and other IT execs will have to deal with is common ways to express business transactions within the enterprise but also among customers and partners. Without common language formats, the widespread use of electronic transactions just will not happen. To find out some of the latest thinking in this area, we include this week a second interview. Our Labs director, John Taschek, speaks in-depth with Suns XML architect, Jon Bosak, a leading proponent of the Universal Business Language, or UBL, specification. See Page 31 for an interview that manages to cut through the acronym clutter around UBL to find out what the benefits would be for the corporation and the roadblocks that exist to widespread adoption.

Early last week, Sun introduced a range of hardware and software systems that the company hopes will help rekindle sales. Sun is taking an aggressive and intelligent approach to a lackluster IT spending environment. Vendors have to be introducing the products now that IT execs will be buying as IT spending slowly recovers. In this weeks lead eWeek Labs article, Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar takes an exhaustive and exclusive look at Suns new Sun Fire 15K. The 15K is one powerful box that can cost $1 million to $10 million in the most robust configuration. See Henrys article on Page 27 for an analysis of what you get for those millions.