The new year has just begun, and it looks like it's going to be an exciting and exhausting one for business-technology professionals. Becoming compliant with government regulations and with radio-frequency ID technology mandates, improving security as threats multiply, fighting spam (because, by most accounts, the new federal anti-spam legislation isn't going to do the trick), and tackling a host of other must-do projects guarantee that CIOs and their staffs won't rest until the ball drops in Times Square again next year-and probably not even then.
Adding to the long days ahead is the fact that getting adequate funding for all these projects still won't be easy. According to InformationWeek Research's Outlook 2004 survey, IT spending as a percentage of revenue isn't on the upswing yet. On the other hand, 82% of those surveyed say they're optimistic about revenue growth, which could translate into more money for IT projects this year than last. Indeed, nearly half expect IT spending to exceed 2003 levels.
May you live in interesting times, goes an old Chinese proverb. And we are, in every way. Because, while deadlines loom and budgets may remain tight, this year presents not only challenges but opportunities-to reach beyond mere RFID compliance; to not just invest in security and anti-spam tools but take concrete action against hackers and spammers; to ensure that all those other projects on your department's agenda fulfill the promise of turning your company into a real-time collaborative enterprise.
Oh, and while you're having your busy new year, have a happy one, too!
(Stephanie Stahl will return next week.)
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