IDC: Wireless will be key in 2002

By Melanie Liew, Computerworld Singapore |  Networking

Having a wireless strategy will be key to organizations because of the increasing mobility of the workforce. Based on technology adoption thresholds, this is the year businesses will have to develop a wireless strategy -- whether it is coming to terms with remote access for mobile workers, putting in wireless LAN (local area networks) or serving up content for customers who want wireless access to the Web site, said Dennis Philbin, senior vice president, Global Access Group & New Business Initiatives, IDC.

"Organizations must start working on a coordinated wireless strategy now because when businesses pick up, those organizations that are reticent with the adoption of a wireless strategy will get caught short," he said.

Presenting 2002 Market Outlook and Forecasts at IDC's Asia Pacific IT Forum in Singapore last week, Philbin said Web services will be hot. This is because with standards in place, Microsoft .Net rolling out and others looking for a new rallying cry, Web services will get lots of air time this year.

Organizations may find themselves experimenting with Web services protocols within the enterprise which will come before Web-based apps-on-the-fly.

In the short term, Web services will mostly be over-hyped. But IDC believes that despite the depressed sentiments in the market, organizations must keep up with the new technology and architecture. Said Philbin, "If it works, organizations will be able to cut costs considerably."

For this reason, server blades will not be widely adopted in 2002 but they will disrupt decision making in the entry server and appliance server space. Blades are emblematic of the greater transformation underway in server architecture.

Technology aside, organizations should also be thinking of staff retention, as they will have a difficult time employing staff in 2003. By the middle of this year, it will probably be uneconomical to lay off workers.

Current levels of unemployment and tight IT budgets have turned the job market into a buyer's market. However, long-term skilled labor is not keeping pace with IT deployment. By the end of 2003, it is expected that the demand for IT staff will exceed the supply.

Also, organizations should begin to examine their alternatives for asset disposal now. This is because elongated depreciation cycles and compression of used markets will drive end-of-life disposal costs up. Therefore, upgrading the hardware and organizational costs sooner may end up being more beneficial.

IT departments need to get ready for the rebound, said Philbin. This is because the IT market will rebound in the middle of this year, if not sooner. IDC believes that its assumption that the United States' gross domestic product (GDP) growth would be flat to negative until the third quarter this year may actually be conservative. The uptake in IT spending, however, will be gradual and vary by sector.

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