News in Review

Users to decide Novell's fate

-- Mark Jones and IDG staff

Novell's ability to convince users it holds the key to directory services in the future is shaping up as the company's ultimate test.

Speaking at Novell's Brainshare conference in Sydney recently, executives said the software giant's "company turnaround" hinges on the success of its directory service products such as Novell Directory Services (NDS).

Novell is keen to push NetWare 5.0 ahead of Microsoft's much-anticipated Windows NT 5.0 launch to retain the three-year lead it has established in the directory services market, Novell officials said.

However, convincing users to upgrade will not be an easy task. International Data Corp (IDC) figures indicate NetWare shipments declined by 9.4 per cent from 1996 to 1997, despite growth in the overall server operating system market of 10.8 per cent. And for the first time since NT debuted in 1993, new unit shipments of NT beat new NetWare unit shipments in 1997, IDC reports.

JNA gets the boot from Cisco's gold list-- Mark JonesJNA Telecommunications users are expected to lose direct support services from Cisco Systems following news the US networking giant plans to strike the Australian telecom equipment manufacturer and systems integrator off its gold partner list.

As the dust settles from Lucent Technologies' proposed $A144 million ($US71.2 million) JNA buyout recently, Gary Jackson, Cisco Australia's managing director, said that the move has damaged a previously healthy working relationship with JNA.

"We cannot continue having JNA as a gold partner of Cisco," he said. "It would be like having Lucent as a partner."

JNA's qualification as a "Gold Certified Partner" meant it has achieved expertise in virtually every aspect of Cisco's business, including sales, support, network design, and network management.

But according to Peter Davies, JNA's managing director, the proposed Lucent buyout will not change the company's relationship with its customers.

GST won't hamper e-commerce -- minister

-- Sue Bushell

Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston has denied a 10 per cent GST would hamper adoption of the information economy, insisting cuts in personal income tax would make up for increased service charges.

"To the extent that there is a marginal difference made by the increase of prices on key services, that is not going to fundamentally alter the demand for these services . . . And of course the very significant personal income tax cuts that will be available for individuals will give them the capacity to tap into these new technologies," he said.

SEARCC'98 strengthens ties with South East Asia-- Angela ProdromouDARWIN -- Concerns over One Nation policies damaging Australia's economic relations with Asia were set aside recently, when some of our country's top political and IT heavyweights met face to face with their Asian counterparts.

It was at the South East Asia Region Computer Confederation, SEARCC'98, in Darwin where an impressive line-up of speakers discussed Y2K, electronic commerce, the future of the Internet, virtual education, training and IT in defence and business.

Keynote speakers included Kim Yeadon (Minister for Information Technology New South Wales), Frank Blount (CEO of Telstra), Daryl Williams (Attorney General), John Olsen (Premier of South Australia) and Dr Terry Cutler (Chair National Office of the Information Economy).

The 17th annual conference -- sponsored by the ACS and the AIIA -- represented Australia's first time at playing host to the event and saw over 550 people attend (of which one-third were Asian delegates).

Consultants -- we want you!

-- Luisa Bustos

Platinum Technology -- known for keeping its nose to the ground for acquisitions -- is on the prowl for IT consultants to beef up its professional services unit and is planning to turn to Australia for 20 per cent of its targeted number.

As reported earlier this year, Platinum is aiming to employ 10,000 consultants worldwide by 2000. President and CEO Andrew "Flip" Filipowski said Platinum intends to find 2000 consultants in Australia.

Java kings to come down-under, AJUG to be incorporatedThe giant behind Sun Microsystems' Java programming language, Dr James Gosling, is one of the key heavyweights set to attend the company's forthcoming Java@Work developers conference to be staged at the Sydney Conference Centre on 17-18 September. The local event will also include Java evangelist Miko Matsumura as a keynote speaker.

Apart from expected showcases on the latest Java tools, testimonials and case studies, delegates will also be given a Java ring housed with an iButton containing a processor that runs a Java Virtual Machine. The Java rings will be pre-loaded with applets that will enable delegates to communicate with networked systems at the conference. Conference costs: Early Bird: $995 Standard: $1195 AJUG member: $895In the lead-up to Sun Microsystems' Java@Work developers conference, the Australian Java Users Group (AJUG) plans to announce it is about to be "incorporated" nationally. What this means for the growing ‘write once, run anywhere' enthusiasts is the introduction of membership fees. Until now, the group has been a voluntary, non-profit organisation.

Salaries soar as skills crunch bites

-- Angela Prodromou

Thanks to the global IT skills shortage, you should have recently enjoyed an average salary hike of around 5.3 per cent. Or at least, that's a key finding in a recent report which is further substantiating claims that the IT skills crunch is driving up salaries of computing professionals.

According to the 1998 Australian Computer Society Remuneration Report -- which canvassed 2164 technology professionals nationwide -- the median base salary of all computer professionals was $64,100 (with a median total package of $73,448). This represents a significantly higher average salary than that of engineers and scientists whose salaries average around the $58,000 mark.

Top scoring salary rises reported during the 12 months to February 1998 went to professionals in consulting and programmer/analyst roles with increases of 5.9 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.

At the other extreme, the lowest salary rises were reported by those in teaching and training, with increases of 4.1 per cent, according to ACS sources.

The private sector prevailed, however, with an even higher increase of 6.2 per cent, while public sector salaries rose by 3.4 per cent and the education sector by 4.5 per cent.

In monetary value that means the median base salary of IT professionals working in private industry was $69,150 (with a median total package of $83,385) compared to $55,00 ($61,756) in the public sector and $56,000 ($63,118) in the education market.

Other key findings indicated that professionals in management roles pulled in the highest average of total packages, with general management reporting $103,037 while sales and marketing earned $102,862.

"This survey supports our claim that not enough is being done to prepare the growing number of IT professionals who are needed to meet this demand," said ACS president Prins Ralston.

But it was the findings from the report showing that IT professionals working in teaching and training positions were paid less and received lower salary increases than their colleagues in consulting and systems management that concerned Ralston.

"With the skill shortage affecting all sectors of the IT market, we need to ensure that we pay our academics market rates. We need to attract and keep the best people in our universities to provide a quality education for those people coming through," he said.

A full copy of the 1998 report -- which was conducted on behalf of the ACS by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers (APESMA) -- is available to ACS members for just $30, while the corporate rate is $150. Otherwise, access to the interactive online version is available at the APESMA Web site at www.apesma.-asn.au or for further information contact them on (03) 9695 8800.

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More about APESMAAssociation of Professional EngineersAustralian Computer SocietyAustralian Computer SocietyAustralian Information Industry AssocCiscoIDC AustraliaLucentLucent TechnologiesMicrosoftNDSNovellPlatinum TechnologyScientists and ManagersSEARCCSun MicrosystemsTelstra Corporation

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