(April 17, 2001)
Publisher and Managing Editor's
Should IT professionals
postpone wireless projects under current economic climate?
"There is a lot of doom and gloom in the business newspapers. Even the
giant corporations, except a handful of systems integration
companies like IBM are forecasting lower profits, cutting jobs, and
postponing new initiatives. On the other hand, trade journals like
Information week are more objective and provide a balanced
viewpoint. Here is MobileInfo.Com's viewpoint and our gut feel of
the market in point form:
What has happened in the
market is good for the long-term health of the industry. You can neither
sustain such virtual growth nor can you plan enterprise projects in such
an artificial environment. The focus of the industry was more on the
escalating P/E ratios than on creating products and building solutions in an efficient fashion.
In the wireless space, we
are in the early evolutionary stage of industry development. However, during the past one year,
we have seen more hype than reality in certain sectors. Long term
prospects are outstanding and fundamentals are strong. However, in
the short run, there are too many vendors chasing the same
market. They started creating almost the same product with
little differentiation. Eager VCs did not have time to find out how many other
ventures got funded in the same space. One such instance is in building
application servers for the enterprise connectivity. There are other
instances of saturation of vendor activity, based on hundreds of press-releases that we receive.
As vendor and economic rationalization takes
place, weak vendors will get out of the market and the task of IT professionals
will become easier. One of the toughest and relatively unproductive task
that IT planners engage in is comparing tens of products to select the
best for their enterprise. Unfortunately they do it in isolation of the
enterprise architecture and strategy.
Business case for
introducing wireless technology is better today than ever before. In the
current climate, you can not afford to let your customers go to your
competition and for those who are loyal to you, you must provide high
quality customer service. This dictates arming your field force with the
latest mobile computing solutions. All three categories of customers -
large, medium and small businesses can take advantage of mobile
solutions. Go to our business case pages
for some more insight.
tools for building custom applications for large enterprises are getting
better. Large organizations like IBM, EDS, Oracle, Stellcom, Brience,
iAnywhere (a Sybase company) and W-Technologies are ready and
experienced enough to give you the helping hand. go to a systems and
application-integration company rather than to an infrastructure vendor
to build your application solutions.
Select the suite of business
functionality that you must give to your users, including
mission-critical business applications. Give your field force with
wireless e-mail solutions so that they can stay in touch with the
corporate or local office.
Develop a business and
technology architecture. Out of this architecture, create an
implementation strategy and migration plan for three time horizons -
short term, medium term and long term.
Remember Rome was not built
in one day. Nor was fixed line network for large enterprises built in
one month. It is not a single task that you are undertaking. Wireless
and mobile computing is a journey and not a destination where you can
reach in a straight line traveling on a high-speed highway. Therefore,
be prepared to stop and re-plan your route as new product solutions
Develop your wireless
applications in the same way as you folks did when fixed network
speeds were 9600 and 19200 bps leased lines and Internet was not there.
Many of us forget that it is the speed of the first hop from your
handheld to the ISP that determines access time and transaction response
time more than the speed of the long-haul Internet.
Select a series of projects
- break your teeth with the simpler ones. Start off in a planned
fashion. After successful pilot and reengineering your business
processes, develop a rollout strategy. Start with wireless e-mail for
your very active workers and professionals.
Then go to your second
project, then the third one. By then, market would have turned around.
Dhawan - Your Site's Principal Consultant and Publisher
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