Guest column: Promising New Year for emerging IT tools

As we enter 1999, some things obviously are going to make a huge impact. At the top of that list are year-2000 conversions, Internet commerce, outsourcing, and the continued expansion of enterprise resource planning applications.

But once you get past that list, there are 10 other technologies that will be worthy of your attention in 1999.

-- Right now, Linux is a movement. But Microsoft is creating demand for a robust PC server operating system that it is unable to fulfill with Windows 2000. Look for Linux to get support from chief information officers across IT organisations.

-- Data marts are nice to have, but they won't be truly useful until we have next-generation knowledge management tools to make sense of data.

-- Auction technology pioneered by eBay will foster new corporate applications that will fundamentally change business relationships.

-- With cable modems and Digital Subscriber Lines helping to drive demand for more improved home networking, look for an exponential increase in demand for remote access.

-- Speech-recognition technology will improve to the point where gaming, adult-oriented, and Internet telephony sites all make use of the technology. And whatever people have at home, they are also going to want it in the office.

-- If you don't know what a directory is, find out. Novell will help make sure that any enterprise application worthy of the name comes with one built in.

-- Rapid adoption of Extensible Markup Language file formats for Web applications will make it clear that we now live in the Stanley Steamer age of the Internet.

-- Handheld PCs like the Palm will alter end-user expectations and demands for data access.

-- Application service providers will redefine outsourcing as IT departments ask for help from dedicated Internet service partners.

--. Every time a transaction moves across a European border, it costs your company money. Being on the euro transition team is a surefire way to become a hero.

Got any other predictions for 1999?

Write to me at michael_vizard@infoworld.com.

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