2002: The Year in Preview

Now that 2001 is (thankfully) behind us, what do the next 4Qs hold in store for us? Drew Bird prognosticates.

 By Drew Bird
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Recently, we took a look back at the happenings of 2001. Now it's time to pull out the crystal ball and look forward to what might be coming our way in 2002.

As in 2001, the biggest factor in the IT industry as a whole will be the economy. Many analysts predict that by the end of the year the economy will be back on the up and the money will, once again, start to flow. That is not to say that there are still not hard times ahead, and there are sure to be further surprises before things get better. As the saying goes, 'It's always darkest before the dawn.'

Closer to home, speed will be the order of the day, with many companies moving toward 100 Mbps to the desktop and gigabit in the server room. As network manufacturers look to regain some of the momentum that carried them through 1999 and 2000, new products will bring performance at a price that's accessible to organizations other than blue chips. The slowdown in the economy will also play a role in making new network devices more affordable as manufacturers run tempting promotions to move existing stock.

In the Operating System arena, 2002 will see the introduction of the new Microsoft .net server products. What the impact of the new OSes will be, in an industry that is likely to be only shopping for necessities, the subject of much debate. With many companies only having recently moved from NT4 to 2000, some analysts suspect that uptake for the new OSes will be slow, at least to begin with. Even if there aren't too many OS upgrades going on, it will be a busy year on other fronts.

The events of 9/11/2001 have made for a surge in the security and disaster recovery business, and any company involved in security measures is sure to have a busy year. Notwithstanding the increase in security at places like airports, many companies are re-evaluating their security needs and examining 'what if' scenarios with a renewed sense of realism. The attitude of "it will never happen to us" is being replaced with "yes, it really can". For those with the need and the dollars, biometrics will be the name of the game.

Analysts are also predicting a busy year for more traditional areas of security such as anti-virus and network protection. With the threat from mass-mail viruses forecast to increase along the with threat of more web site attacks, security products and the people to install and manage them are likely to be in high demand.

On the subject of demand for IT personnel, the industry as a whole continues to experience an overall shortage even if some areas are less of an issue than others. What those working in the industry can expect is a further tightening of budgets, rationalization of IT salaries and a re-examination of benefit packages. The days of the complimentary perks like personal trainers and monthly theater tickets may have passed, but those working in IT will still be able to count themselves very fortunate in comparison with like professions.

This article was originally published on Jan 14, 2002
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