Magazine article Government Finance Review

Six Predictions for Technology in the Year 2001

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Six Predictions for Technology in the Year 2001

Article excerpt

Whether it be the future of the Internet or the beleaguered dotcom industry, the prognosticators are out in full force with their thoughts on the year 2001. Include the GFOA in with this group of fortune-telling pundits. The following are six predictions about how the mutable IT field will develop over the coming year.

1) Contraction and Stabilization of the Application Service Provider (ASP) Market. The final quarter of 2000 was not kind to the e-commerce industry, as was evidenced by the brutal consolidation of the dotcom market. Some market analysts believe that this is a healthy process whereby the weaker firms that existed only by the grace of the general technological euphoria will be weeded out and the stronger firms will be well positioned to entrench themselves for the long term. GFOA believes that a similar phenomenon will take place in the ASP (Application Service Providers; firms that "rent out" applications over an Internet connection thereby relieving end-user organizations of the need to purchase potentially prohibitively expensive software and/or hardware) market whereby those ASPs that are less capable will go out of business or merge to form stronger and more balanced organizations. This is good news for those governments that are thinking that the ASP philosophy is enticing but have not committed to this outsourcing strategy because of the inconsistent and off-balance product offerings in the market today.

2) Evolution of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). ERP is a package of back-office applications characterized by a relational database, modular integration, and a number of other advanced features. Some leading ERP vendors are SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards. ERP will continue to evolve in a number of ways over the coming year. Generally, ERP will become more compatible with e-business applications in order to better leverage ERP's information management capabilities with the potential information gathering ability of the Internet. Also, ERP may become more affordable to mid-size organizations as demand dries up amongst larger organizations and ASP becomes more prevalent. Specifically for government, ERP systems should become better suited to meet the needs of government as the public-sector market increases in importance, and more industry-specific tools provide a way for ERP firms to differentiate their product and realize additional revenues. ERP systems will expand to include features such as gra nt management, project management, and budget preparation, be it through a home-grown solution or a third-party solution.

3) Further Development of the Internet. The Internet is "just a passing fad." This is the latest prediction from a report by the United Kingdom-based Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Internet will continue to develop, with the most important change being the move to extensible markup language (XML). As even the most novice Internet users know, a routine search on almost any subject can result in hundreds of (so-called) "hits" where the vast majority may be of absolutely no relation to the actual subject of interest. In fact, this was the point that the ESRC was trying to make: the sheer amount of information on Internet has decreased its usability by creating a glut. Enter XML. XML provides a built in "tag" that can specify text as a specific category. …

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