What Do Enterprises Really Want?

Arthur Cole

Far too often in the trade press, the focus is on the latest technologies or the wheelings and dealings of vendor communities. So this week I thought I'd take a look at the user community -- specifically the feelings and opinions that are driving the decisions of enterprise managers around the globe.


Today, I'll take a macro approach and examine some of the leading surveys of enterprise professionals. Later in the week, I'll rundown the thinking that is guiding some of the top CIOs in the industry.


CIO.com recently published its annual Consumer Technology Poll, which revealed that most CIOs are highly apprehensive of Web 2.0 technology and maintaining security and reliability while accommodating new forms of social networking and collaboration. Hosted productivity applications like Google Apps are also a major concern, with more than half saying they should not be allowed in the enterprise, while the same percentage felt the same way about on-line e-mail services.


The same survey of 311 IT decision makers at large, mid-sized and small enterprises showed barely a third of enterprises offered wikis, while less than a quarter offered blog services or RSS feeds.


On the other hand, there seems to be no question on the value of green technology -- if not to save the planet than to cut operating expenses -- although relatively few have implemented clear green strategies yet. In a separate survey, CIO polled 280 IT executives showed only half have implemented any green initiatives or participate in product take-back or recycling programs. And nearly one-third say the seldom or never take energy usage in account when considering new gear.


When it comes to divining exactly what it is that IT executives want, respondents to IDC's Forecast for Management Survey put Service Oriented Architecture technologies at the top of the list. Virtualization came in fifth after RFID, VoIP and IT services, while enhanced storage networking tools like Storage over IP and iSCSI followed at sixth.


It just goes to show you that more often than not, the technologies that gain the most headlines year in and year out are not necessarily the driving forces behind the decisions being made out in the field. And technologies like SOA that get written off by many as passing fads sometimes have the staying power to affect real change in the way things are done.

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