Exec says integrating enterprise key to survival

The times are a'changin' for network managers.

Between massive mergers, the rise of Internet business and globalisation, the very nature of the role of IS staff has been dramatically recast, said Robert LaBant, president of Candle. LaBant on Monday presented his keynote address to the attendees of the SHARE user group gathered in the Chicago Sheraton. Candle specialises in providing network integration services and software.

LaBant noted that five years ago, there was no Netscape or Amazon.Com, Yahoo "was still a drink," and you could buy American Online stock for $1.17 a share. Who knew how things would change, he said.

For instance, in 1998 there were 23,000 mergers, this year the pace is even faster. And the only way to make those mergers profitable is to link together the network infrastructures of the different companies rapidly and combine operations, LaBant said. In addition, IS managers face the rise of Web-based commerce as well as the impact of globalisation, which is forcing businesses to extend the network out to other countries.

He had some advice for IS managers looking for a company to assist in enterprise application integration:

*The company you choose should be willing to use a variety of vendors' products.

*The company should be able to create a component-based system.

*The system the integrator puts together should be capable of advanced monitoring and management. *The integration should provide end-to-end security.

LaBant also noted that 65% of all online transactions are never completed. "Users are leaving half-filled shipping carts abandoned in the virtual aisle," he said. Businesses must find out exactly what its customers are experiencing when they attempt to do online purchasing.

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