Enterprise Outlook conference eyes tech trends

Perspectives on technology trends such as service-oriented architectures, Indian outsourcing, and e-mail management were the...

Perspectives on technology trends such as service-oriented architectures, Indian outsourcing, and e-mail management were the focus of the day yesterday at the Enterprise Outlook conference in Redwood City, California.

Executives from Hewlett-Packard, IBM and BEA Systems were at the conference, as well as venture capitalists. 

Ann Livermore, executive vice president for HP's technology solutions group, said her company expected Linux, Unix, and Windows to continue to be the dominant operating platforms, with Linux the company’s highest growth area.

Linux is "clearly our fastest growing area," she added. Initially deployed in testing environments and in edge-of-the-network web applications that did not require much services, HP in the past year has seen an uptake in Linux being deployed in mission-critical applications such as CRM.

"As that happens, you start getting more and more services opportunity around the Linux environment," she said.

HP also is optimistic about the IT services outsourcing market, believing it to be one of the fastest growing, most attractive markets in the IT industry. 

Livermore disagreed with a 2003 article in The Harvard Business Review entitled IT Doesn’t Matter, which argued that IT no longer offers a competitive edge to enterprises.

"Our view is yes, it’s true that everybody has IT, but no, it’s not true that all companies use IT as effectively as they can," Livermore said. 

From HP’s vantage point, the company sees relatively low corporate spending on IT but strong spending from small and midsized businesses and consumers, while large corporations are focusing on driving out costs while increasing business agility. 

BEA senior vice president and CIO Rhonda Hocker reiterated the company’s belief in service-oriented architecture, touting the supplier’s own experiences, in which applications are quickly composed and deployed as services. 

"I wanted to make sure we could build business capability in weeks. Not months, not years," she said.

BEA is now in its second generation of SOA, building composite applications rapidly, she said. A new sales portal, for example, was developed in six weeks by exploiting existing services. 

"In terms of the packaged application vendors, I see SOA as a big threat to them," because they become service providers and their technology becomes commoditised, Hocker said. 

IBM’s Gary Cohen, general manager of pervasive computing at the company, said there was a need for improved client-side computing in which sessions can be maintained regardless of whether clients are connected to the network by wires or are wireless.

He cited how a wireless data connection must be restarted from the beginning after a disconnection, unlike wireless phone connections, where conversations can be picked up from where they were left off. 

"We’re seeing diversity, we’re seeing heterogeneity, but we’re not necessarily seeing consistency in availability," he said, adding that  IBM’s "managed clients" initiative can provide a consistent operating model between the server and client. 

E-mail phishing scams represent "a big, emerging threat", said Steve Munford, president of the US division of Sophos, while Ken DeJarnette, principal for Enterprise Risk Services at Deloitte & Touche said control of wireless e-mail is also an issue. 

The growth in IT development in India has prompted some workers who migrated to the US to head home, said Craig Chatterton, country manager for SupportSoft India.

"People are going back to India because they think there are better job opportunities for them there than in the US," Chatterton said, adding that he did not think the recent change in government in India would have much of an impact on the Indian IT market. 

"Our view on this is we have a business to run and we have a responsibility to our shareholders and our customers to always be driving for the best quality and for the best price," HP's Livermore said.

HP’s global delivery centre in India is a major centre for the company, she added. The company first put research and development work in Bangalore in the late-1980s.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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