European innovation is driving IT revolution



John Riley

There was much razzmatazz when Ford announced recently that it is providing PCs with Internet access to all its employees. But...



John Riley

There was much razzmatazz when Ford announced recently that it is providing PCs with Internet access to all its employees. But Norwegian oil giant Statoil made a similar move over two years ago to bring its entire staff into the Internet age.

We often look towards the US for innovation without appreciating how much there is in our European backyard. There's plenty of technical innovation in Europe - whether it is mobile e-commerce in Scandinavia, ISDN experience in Germany, or smart card technology in France - and corporate usage innovation.

We might pride ourselves on what we're doing in the UK, but when it comes to e-business we're falling behind countries like Scandinavia and Germany. This was a persistent message from well-positioned people at the Cebit IT fair in Germany - the world's largest.

Going around talking to European integrators, middleware specialists and others who focus on enterprise-wide applications, UK corporate users are fast followers but are not at the leading edge. This is fine for technology, but in the e-business arena, which has to be at least pan-European, if not global, to be successful, fast following is not enough. IT directors should therefore be sure to compare their activities on at least a European, and ideally a global, scale.

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