Top 5 Technology Projects in 2005

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

What's the trend this year among big-ticket deployments? Enhancements to existing systems.

What's new in 2005? Projects that revolve around old information systems.

According to Baseline's survey of 1,270 readers, most organizations this year are writing their biggest checks for projects to extend systems they've already deployed.

No. 1 on the list of Top 5 Projects for 2005: application integration. An average of $12.1 million is expected to go to such projects by those who deemed integration one of the "most critical" technologies at their company. For this group, the top priority isn't rolling out a brand-new system, but connecting previously isolated systems.

Sometimes, that's harder than starting from scratch. When the New York Board of Trade switched to a Java-based trade-processing system last year, the new setup had to incorporate live data from the old one during the migration. David Sternberg, the director of clearing technology for the commodities exchange, says his team had to build data links from—and back to—a Cobol-based application written in 1981 running on a Tandem mainframe. It was a laborious task, particularly because the application's documentation had been lost.

"It was torture," Sternberg says of the project. "The challenge wasn't just rebuilding the airplane in the air. We also didn't have the runways for getting the new one off the ground."

The other Top 5 Projects also look to the future with an eye on the past. In second place is business analytics (average spending: $11.1 million), software that finds new patterns in existing sets of data. Enterprise portals, at No. 3 ($6.8 million), are designed to present data in easily accessible and customizable Web sites for employees or customers.

Companies planning projects in category No. 4, customer relationship management ($6.6 million), say they're primarily building new ways to distribute and analyze customer information they already have. Rounding out the survey's Top 5, at $6.3 million, is intrusion detection and prevention: systems designed to protect networks from new strains of fast-moving attacks.

Respondents expect to dole out an average of $70 million on information technologies in 2005. But it's often a fight to win funding for new, large-scale projects. Proposals to augment existing systems are an easier sell.

"Any I.T. leader will tell you that you don't want to go to the well for capital dollars," says Kevin Brown, manager of information systems at Daisy Brand, a Dallas producer of sour cream.


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