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12/19/2003
05:52 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Business Technology: Heartfelt Wishes For An Upcoming Year

Some things I'd like to see in 2004:

  • An end to the cherished practice of consultancies to drum up an endless list of three-letter acronyms (TLAs, dontcha know) to describe "new" categories that either aren't really new or don't really exist or shouldn't exist or exist in TLA-name only. For example, CPM, BPM, EPM, etc., etc., etc.--what exactly is the strategic value that differentiates corporate-performance management from business-performance management from enterprise-performance management? I would hate to think the consultancies dream these up solely to create new categories for which clients must buy new reports and services--heaven forbid. But the TLA thing is profoundly 20th century--let's can it here in the 21st.
  • Some productive collaboration among major software companies to promote cybersecurity. The effort should be led by Microsoft because it is the most widely used and most influential software company in the world. If the companies involved would rather chew their metaphorical legs off than be publicly identified as part of such an effort, then cloak it under the mantle of Homeland Security. But that stuff aside, the time to act is NOW.
  • An at-least marginally competitive major-league baseball team in Pittsburgh.

OTHER VOICES
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the man who shot President Reagan may visit his parents without staff from the mental hospital where he has lived for more than two decades. ... [John Hinckley] was acquitted in 1982 by reason of insanity in the shootings of Reagan, presidential press secretary James Brady and two law-enforcement officers. Reagan was nearly killed and Brady was permanently disabled.

-- Associated Press, Dec. 17


  • Greater thoughtfulness invested in what is said and written about offshore outsourcing. It isn't the cure for every problem every company currently faces; neither is it the malicious sellout that Lou Dobbs has been haranguing about. (Hey, Lou: Some of the technology you've used to create these "exposés" of yours was made outside the United States--doesn't that mean you should put YOUR name on the list of dastardly deed-doers that are, to put it in your terms, sending jobs overseas?) We're already seeing startups aggregating the enormous talents and skills and work ethic of available American business-technology workers and offering those services at competitive rates to companies eager for such services--the key is that they're taking new approaches to address the new market realities. That should be the focus of the debate on this subject in 2004.
  • Wider and deeper immersion of IT people in business ideas and strategies as those people continue their evolution toward becoming business-technology experts.
  • Some decent raises and bonuses for those business-technology experts after three years of holding the line.
  • Some convicted computer saboteurs thrown in prison for a few years.
  • Some convicted spammers thrown in jail for a while, after having forfeited all of their ill-gotten financial gains.
  • Additional customer-focused pricing and licensing overhauls by software companies that reflect today's market realities rather than yesterday's traditions. Software companies have every right to charge what the market will bear and to turn a solid profit--the problem seems to be wrapped up in the phrase "what the market will bear." Unlike the late 1990s, today we're in a buyer's market, and enterprise-level software companies that try to perpetuate the pricing policies of a bygone era will be taking some major steps toward becoming bygone themselves.
  • A new story pumped out by the guy who wrote the "IT Doesn't Matter" article in May's Harvard Business Review. Gee, any chance he'll be whistling a slightly different tune in '04? Or that he'll say he misquoted himself in his own article? Or that--and this is the alternative I'm betting on--he'll say that those silly readers misinterpreted what he meant when he said it's no longer possible for competitive advantage to be gained from IT?
  • An at-least marginally competitive NFL team in Pittsburgh.
  • A tremendous new year for all of you and your families!

Bob Evans
Editor in Chief
bevans@cmp.com


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