The slump has brought a lasting shift in the thinking of corporate customers. Most companies no longer see Internet-era computing as an enemy or a savior, but mainly as a tool that can cut costs, streamline operations and enhance communications with employees, partners and suppliers. That, it seems, represents a return to the traditional view of information technology.
A view on the growth areas in 2003:
China, most notably. Its growth appears poised to continue, with IDC expecting information technology spending in China to rise 20 percent in 2003. The United States should have a slight recovery, while Europe could be a weak spot.
By product group, analysts say one prime candidate for growth in 2003 is “applications integration.” The ungainly term means getting a company’s various databases and large software applications to talk to one other. Applications integration involves mostly software and services. I.B.M., BEA, Oracle, Sun, Microsoft and others have offerings.
Personal computer sales look stagnant, but don’t tell Microsoft that personal computing is a mature business. David Vaskevitch, a senior vice president and an architect of the company’s strategy, says the consumer market is probably “where the next revolution is.” The spread of digital photography and new forms of interpersonal communication like instant messaging (I.M.) will stimulate demand for PC hardware and software, he says.
I’ll be writing more on what to expect in 2003 in various tech areas in my Tech Talk series starting tomorrow.