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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  07 Jun 2010

INFOTECH: What’s Next Up for Extinction in IT?


Recent Gauteng Business News

I recently spotted this headline in the news: “Sony to Stop Manufacturing Floppy Discs After 30 Years.” It’s true, Sony will stop producing the 3.5-inch discs next March after having first introduced them in 1981. Believe it or not, Sony sold more than 8.5 million units in Japan in 2008.

My first reaction was one of surprise that any company still manufactured them. And while floppy discs are rapidly being replaced by portable hard drives and USB flash drives, except for in Japan and a puzzling used goods market, it does make one wonder what’ll go extinct next?

The end of a 30-year product did get me thinking about what may be next on the tech endangered species list. Here are some candidates:

• Fax machines—While I continue to be surprised by the resilience of fax machines, I actually had to use one twice this week to send legal and tax documents. Still, will they be gone by 2015 or 2020?
• Mice—Believe it or not, the mouse is only a year younger than Sony’s first 3.5-inch disc. While the mouse took off with the debut of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, Apple is helping to speed its decline. Who needs a mouse when you have your fingers?
• Office landlines—I’m rarely in my office. Why do I have a landline there? For conference calls? I have a pretty good speakerphone built into my BlackBerry. Of course, my boss may wonder why I have an office in the first place.
• MS Outlook— Email could become obsolete as we get more aggressive about using instant messaging and social networking tools for collaboration.
• The laptop—Are you ready to leave that bulky laptop and annoying power cord home and replace it with an iPad? That day is perhaps not far behind.
• Enterprise applications as we know them—Consider that today there are only 118 business apps out of the 5 351 total software offerings available for the iPad. That number has more than doubled since the tablet first shipped in the US on April 3. In the future, you will see real business apps for sales-force automation, marketing automation, expense management, workforce management, human capital management, and BI/performance management available from Infor and others that will offer a much richer user experience. The primary challenge for vendors will be the price point. According to Distimo, the price of the average iPad business app is under $10. Can you build a volume business for real business apps?
Seriously though, IT is in a constant state of flux, and perhaps even more so the world of business IT. Not only have IT services have become a commodity, but social media is empowering users at the expense of many an IT department. Software as a service (SaaS) providers are replacing in-house IT infrastructures. And there is a concern that IT leadership is increasingly alienated from senior management, while corporate leadership doesn’t always understand the implications of IT decisions on business strategy.

Market forces will continue to conspire against the status quo, hopefully to the benefit of users and traditional IT alike. When it comes to business challenges, at Softworx we appreciate that one size clearly doesn’t fit all. With the help of Infor, we are delivering business-specific software that requires less customisation, shorter implementation times, and fewer IT resources to maintain. And the future is built in, too. Our Open Service-Oriented Architecture is designed for the growth of our business clients, letting them take advantage of new products and upgrade to new composite solutions.

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