In the past year or so I’ve gotten an earful from IT managers. Not just the usual e-mail or voice mail, but up-close-and-personal rants at no fewer than six InfoWorld SOA Executive Forums. Listening to those concerns, not just about SOA but about a wide range of topics, convinced me that InfoWorld was missing an opportunity to broaden its coverage of issues our readers face every day.
That realization was the genesis of this month’s “Lessons learned from the verticals,” a collection of stories about IT challenges in financial services, retail, telecommunications, health care, and government. Our authors’ charter was to search out the extreme IT problems that arise in each vertical and transcribe solutions useful to IT in general.
The result was one big reality check. Sure, I’m aware that nobody pushes performance like financial services, but I wouldn’t have guessed that the biggest problem at some large retail chains is switching stores from dial-up to broadband, nor did it occur to me that in hospitals, where knowledge workers lack desks, laptops on wheeled carts and SSO (single-sign-on) are necessities.
Was there one overriding theme? Surprisingly, yes: consolidation. Telecom may lead this trend, but few industries can afford to maintain a bloated hodgepodge of applications and their associated operating costs. Consolidation is the only way to leave anything in the IT budget for innovation.
Naturally, with an article this broad, we can only skim the top concerns of each vertical. So consider this an invitation to tell us what your challenges are -- and to describe the solutions you’re willing to share. And if you’re in New York this Nov. 7 or 8, feel free to drop by the next SOA Executive Forum and buttonhole me. I’ll be all ears.