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Users will be looking for business certainties, not the next big thing

Daniel Thomas
IT professionals searching the CeBIT show for the next killer application are likely to be disappointed. The days when CeBIT was about the "next big thing" in technology are long gone, according to Neil Macehiter, research director at analyst firm Ovum.

The focus at this year's event will be on systems that can solve business problems, he said

In the past, suppliers have used the show to announce their blue-sky technologies, but the smaller IT budgets of the past few years and the sharpening focus from IT directors and chief information officers is changing the nature of what suppliers promote at the show, Macehiter said.

"There will some technologies that will be prominent and hyped, such as business process management and utility computing, but the priorities of CIOs are not about technology," Macehiter said. "They are worried about issues such as compliance, regulation and outsourcing.

"The suppliers are wising up to the fact that technology has to be put into the context of business. Hopefully, this will be reflected in the way CeBIT is presented."

Macehiter said radio frequency identification technology is expected to be prominent at the show, but that it needs to be approached in a way that will help businesses make decisions.

"CIOs are not interested in the specifications of the tags and readers," he said. "They want to know about issues such as the implications for existing systems, application integration, where they should pilot the technology and who should be supporting them. Business process knowledge is key."

Some suppliers may offer a longer-term vision around areas such as service-oriented architectures - a form of web services used to exchange multiple forms of information - but there will not be a killer application, Macehiter said. "It is now all about solving actual business problems," he added.

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