As 2001 has come to an end and we have shaken off the stench of a rotten fiscal year, the outlook for 2002 isn't looking much rosier. Consequently, the majority of projects influencing the IT horizon in 2002 will be focused on cutting costs and reducing risks in ROI. Nevertheless, the need to balance risk and ROI shouldn't preclude keeping an eye out for innovation -- particularly the kind of innovation that could help hasten recovery on the upswing following the recession.
One of the more important pushes next year will come from legacy and mainframe rejuvenation, vis-a-vis enterprise application integration and the continued need to streamline collaboration in intercompany partnership building. The capabilities of Web services and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) 1.3 will play important roles in promoting application scalability as well as helping to extend the value of legacy code.
No doubt, 2002 will be a monumental year for Web services as vendors continue to cement their foundations for the new distributed computing model. Finally entering the field will be releases for developing on the Microsoft .Net Framework, and Sun Microsystems Inc. will continue its push toward a better definition of its own Web services gridiron.
As the street credibility of Web services improves, reverberations will be felt across the enterprise computing landscape. In particular, the application server and portal markets, as well as production platforms like Kenamea Inc. and Flamenco Networks Inc., will begin fusing Web services with old-school integration models.
Expect many disruptive technologies, too, to gain increased attention. (And be sure to look for the Test Center In-Focus on disruptive technologies coming in the next issue.)With solid server releases such as Mandrake 8.1, and continued improvements in desktop usability, Linux inches closer to enterprise acceptance.
Distributed rights management and CDNs (content delivery networks) will also gain ground next year, spurred not only by the need to manage the growing amount of marketable digital content but also by the opportunity to open new revenue streams to the benefit of topline growth.
Watch for an explosion in peer-to-peer adoption by the end of 2002 as Sun Jxta and Groove Networks, already making advances in the management of p-to-p networks, prove key to harnessing the power of collaborative workflow.
Ultimately, the fiscal fate of many companies in 2002 could also hinge on uncontrollable factors such as global terrorism. But you can't hide and wait. Look to the innovative, cost-saving technologies coming of age in 2002 to maximize the business value of your IT investments and to help your company react faster to signs of growth in a happier new year.