The IT wishlist for Year 2000

The IT wishlist for Year 2000

During March 2000 Computerworld in the US conducted an online survey in which they asked 223 IT professionals about the top three decisions their organisations face in 2000. For each of the IT decisions, respondents indicated their top three purchasing criteria as well as the timeframes for making these decisions and implementing the technologies.

The top IT buying decisions in 2000 are:

Security tools

Wide-Area network infrastructure

Enterprise databases

Web-database connectivity tools

Desktop system replacements

Web content management tools

Web server operating system

Storage and networks

High-speed internet access for telecommutersWeb performance management toolsRust-e-Research"21st Century Customers …..Hopes and Fears" is a research report jointly commissioned by ICL, the IT services company, and marketing communications agency Evans Hunt Scott in the UK. The research explored customer attitudes to customer service providers and identified what makes good and bad customer service. It also identified the impact of technology on channels and service provision. The top five sectors with a reputation for delivering good customer service were identified as financial services, (banks and building societies); food and drink retailers; department and variety stores; utilities; and telcos. The research also found that customer relations operations often seem to be "hit and miss" affairs, with companies finding it difficult to offer consistently satisfactory levels of service.

The Internet is causing a major shift in the management of distributed networking infrastructures. According to IDC, the shift is moving the management of traditional distributed network and desktop systems away from the customer premises and back to the mainframe or "timeshare" model of data centre-based service delivery. The new model is that instead of a single-source provider delivering most of these services, the market is primarily made up of a triumvirate of players. These include vendors delivering infrastructure management, 'client' (eg desktop telephone) management, and systems monitoring services. Service providers from these three segments will either merge or behave in a co-operative manner so they mimic a single source provider, IDC believes.

Speer and Associates recently released the finding of its second proprietary study of the state of financial services market on the Internet. The study reveals the Internet still acts primarily as a service medium in the financial services industry and that targeted marketing through the channel remains a distant goal.

Information appliances are coming! From less than 12 million shipments in 1999, information appliances will zoom to more 300 million units in 2005 for a compound annual growth rate of 71.8 per cent, according to a survey conducted by eTForecasts. Blame it on the Internet! Web access capabilities will be added to many existing products that are in volume production, such as set-top boxes, cellular phones, handheld computers and many others. The result will be a rapid proliferation of information appliances across the world. The report from eTForecasts forecasts that information applications will have little impact on the PC industry in the next five years. Worldwide PC sales will grow from 124 million units in 2000 to more than 217 million in 2005.

The shortage of skilled IT employees is fuelling growth in the IT certification market, according to a recently published report from IDC. Worldwide revenues in this market are on track to exceed $US4 billion by 2003 from the current level of almost $US2.5 billion. But the skills shortage isn't the only factor driving growth in the IT certification market. According to IDC, the proliferation of emerging technologies, the increased need for recertification, the appearance of vendor-neutral programs, the competitive advantage, and other tangible benefits certification brings are also contributing to the market's growth.

The number of households connected to the Internet in the US this year will increase to 60 per cent, according to a report issued by Cahners In-Stat Group. The major use of the Internet will be for e-commerce as more people will be shopping online and even if they don't buy anything, they will use it for research on products -- to do comparative shopping. According to the report, by the end of the year gender will not be a factor in online shopping. Cahners predicted that by the end of 2000 40.1 per cent of online consumers will be women.

The early success of Internet-only or dot-com, retailers is threatened as Western Europe's' online market grows dramatically by 415 per cent over the 1999 to 2001 period to EUR 4.7 billion in 2001, according to Jupiter Communications. The research indicates that online commerce revenues are set to increase eight-fold, rising from EUR 8 billion in 2000 to EUR 64 billion by 2005. Meanwhile, the number of online buyers will more than quadruple to reach 85 million by 2005, up from 20 million in 2000, with the most aggressive growth expected during the next 24 months.

Momentum is starting to build in the Internet-based electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) market. In 1999, worldwide revenues jumped 540 per cent to $US32 million, but this is only a small stepping stone in comparison to how high this market will climb. IDC forecasts the market will escalate at a 100 per cent compound annual growth rate through 2004, bringing revenues over the $US1 Billion mark.

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