SAN CARLOS, Calif. -- Perspectives on technology trends such as SOAs (service-oriented architectures), Indian outsourcing, and e-mail management were the focus of the day at the Enterprise Outlook private equity conference here on Wednesday. Featured were executives from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and BEA Systems, as well as venture capitalists.
HP expects Linux, Unix, and Windows to continue to be the dominant operating platforms, with Linux the company’s highest growth area, according to Ann Livermore, executive vice president for HP's technology solutions group. “For us, as we look out over the next 10 years, we believe that all three operating environments are going to remain very widespread and under heavy use,” Livermore said.
Linux is “clearly our fastest growing area,” she added. Initially deployed in testing environments and in edge-of-the-network Web applications that did not require much services, HP in the past year has seen an uptake in Linux being deployed in mission-critical applications such as CRM, Livermore said.
“As that happens, you start getting more and more services opportunity around the Linux environment,” she said.
HP also is optimistic about the IT services outsourcing market. “We still believe the IT outsourcing market is one of the fastest growing, most attractive markets in the IT industry,” Livermore said.
She disagreed with a 2003 article in The Harvard Business Reviewentitled “IT Doesn’t Matter,” which argued that IT no longer offers a competitive edge to enterprises. “Our view is yes, it’s true that everybody has IT, but no, it’s not true that all companies use IT as effectively as they can,” Livermore said.
From HP’s vantage point, the company sees relatively low corporate spending on IT but strong spending from small and midsize businesses and consumers. What large corporations are focusing on, however, is driving out costs while increasing business agility, she said.
“We see strong interest in business agility, in how [businesses] can make themselves more adaptive,” she said. Some investment is going on in new projects, she noted.
A BEA official, meanwhile, reiterated the company’s belief in SOAs. Rhonda Hocker, senior vice president and CIO at the company, touted the vendor’s own experience with the concept, in which applications are quickly composed and deployed as services.
“I wanted to make sure we could build business capability in weeks. Not months, not years,” she said.
“[With] the old IT, which a lot of companies are still stuck in, it was all about integration. You build every time you need it,” she said. “[With] the new IT, the value can be realized in weeks,” Hocker said.
BEA is now in its second generation of SOA, building composite applications rapidly, she said. A new sales portal, for example, was developed in six weeks by leveraging existing services.
“In terms of the packaged application vendors, I see SOA as a big threat to them,” because they become service providers and their technology becomes commoditized, Hocker said.