The Other Trends to Watch

What's up for next year? In a time of great uncertainty-from the presidential election to the bumpy economic warnings-there is nervousness in the tech industry and beyond.

Whats up for next year? In a time of great uncertainty—from the presidential election to the bumpy economic warnings—there is nervousness in the tech industry and beyond. Recently, eWeek identified 12 technologies that corporate IT must watch in 2001. Those technologies include advanced encryption, optical switching and storage over IP. But beyond technologies, there are other trends that IT also needs to watch.

In times of uncertainty, it is vital to keep business operations in sync with revenues. The promise of e-business built on Internet standards is meshing with companies internal operations and linking to suppliers. That promise remains unfulfilled in many companies. The surplus inventory warnings and lowered revenue expectations from tech companies indicate that a good place to start building an efficient e-business is in the tech world itself. Rising revenues can cover many ills, but lower revenues expose sloppy businesses. The race to efficiency and productivity will be more important than ever in 2001.

Distance learning has often proved to be a distant possibility. No more. The cost of travel, the hassle of travel delays and a tighter economy favor distance learning. The need to stay up with new technologies is greater than ever. Crumbling New Economy consultancies and an onrush of Internet-based products from wireless through new security techniques are pushing the need to build expertise in organizations. Meanwhile, distance learning delivery systems have grown more sophisticated. Next year will mark the blossoming of distance learning.

Developing an IT architecture that fulfills a business strategy is the key reason for spending IT budget dollars. The architectures development is a combination of making correct decisions, developing the right skills and making sure it all fits within budgets. The further deployment of an architecture built on Net standards and using remote learning to make sure that deployment works will be key themes in 2001.