From the 'Death of IT' to 'Agents of ex-change' in seven months? Forrester Research created a stir early this year when it forecast that IT departments had roughly three years to live until they were buried by e-commerce models that put technology management directly into the hands of business managers and outside service providers, (Computerworld, February 21, p14).
Not surprisingly many of our readers acknowledged that big changes were coming to their empires but thought the Forrester projection was crud. Comments on the Forrester Death of IT report included, 'few people would be prepared to outsource the building of their enterprise portal', 'there aren't that many people around that are good to outsource to' and 'business units tend to be silos and it takes IT leadership to coordinate their e-strategies'. It was also conceded that the role of CIO and senior IT executives would be even more important if 'they' let the person do the job rather than be relegated to tending technology problems.
Fast forward seven months. The dotcom bubble went pop, but the e-hype continued its relentless drive. A number of high- profile projects were announced, in particular, CorProcure and trading exchanges in the health and mining sectors. These initiatives leaned heavily on services from suppliers and consultants, such as Peter Watkins, e-commerce director of KPMG Consulting. Watkins goes so far as to suggest that many of these digital marketplaces would not have evolved if it had been left to CIOs and IT managers. (See cover story starting page 18). Was Forrester onto something?
Congratulations to all the IT workers who toiled incredibly long hours to keep the Olympic Games computing and communications systems ticking over throughout the great event. The most sophisticated Games IT ever. Congratulations also to all those in transport who worked night shift two weeks straight to ensure that the signalling and other rail systems kept doing what they were supposed to do. Even the trains stayed on track, except for one mishap I'm aware of. However, I did enjoy noting that some automated systems sat idle while organisers opted to use faster manual processing for harbour bridge tolls, Olympic stadium ticket collection and airport baggage handling. Some 47,000 volunteers and an army of behind the scenes professionals were the real keys to success.
Editor in chief