By Tom Steinert-Threlkeld  |  Posted 2002-10-08 Print this article Print

Online exclusive: The technology consulting firm says the world's biggest companies will shed staff through 2010 as efficiency efforts pick up steam. That prediction was among Gartner's Top 10 IT forecasts for the rest of the decade.

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Gartner's IT Predictions

The job cuts were part of Claunch's delivery of 10 Gartner predictions about the future of information technology. A streamlined version of the list:

  1. Bandwidth will become less costly than computing. The capacity of communications channels is doubling annually. Computing capacity is increasing 60 percent a year. Enterprises will centralize data as a result.
  2. Most new applications will extend across enterprises. This could take a while. As businesses decide how to deal with each other online, there will be fits and starts. With such systems "there is no common owner. There is no owner. The buck stops nowhere."
  3. Linking companies' computing and communications systems will boost the economy. The creation of electronic ecosystems will improve the efficiencies of industries. Enterprises themselves will be more efficient as well.
  4. Successful firms in a strong economy will lay off millions. Why? Because they will be able to. See above.
  5. The number of vendors will diminish rapidly. Half of existing software suppliers will be gone by 2004. One major vendor will disappear in such key areas as business applications, network management, and database and server products.
  6. Moore's Law will last through this decade. That doubling of computing power every 18 months will mean that, in six years, a personal computer will sport a processor that chomps on data 40 billion times a second—and the typical hard drive will store 1.5 trillion numbers and letters.
  7. Banks will be the outfits that keep track of your online "presence." This electronic awareness of who is online at any time was pioneered by America Online. But AOL, Yahoo and MSN.com will not dominate as it becomes increasingly important to keep track not just of who is online—but what their credit-card numbers are.
  8. Monitoring business activities will become mainstream by 2007. If businesses don't monitor how their e-businesses work, they won't be on top of fraud, able to cut waste or capable of improving customer satisfaction. It's not enough just to create the process.
  9. Business executives will choose computing applications. The job of the business division will be to decide what application or system to implement and how to roll it out. After all, it's their job to deliver profit. The job of the technology executive will be to minimize choices that conflict with overall goals and operations of the business as a whole—and of other divisions.
  10. Decentralization of computing will be back in vogue by 2004. While the bandwidth boom will drive companies toward centralizing more data in big servers that spit out answers into big pipes, lower cost generally leads to "vanilla" systems that don't serve individual divisions as well as they should. So the pendulum will swing back.

Tom was editor-in-chief of Interactive Week, from 1995 to 2000, leading a team that created the Internet industry's first newspaper and won numerous awards for the publication. He also has been an award-winning technology journalist for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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