In future, success and growth in global competition will depend heavily on the high adaptability of an organization and its business model. The focus is less on what products and services an organization offers, but on how quickly it is able to deliver them to customers and how flexibly they can respond to market changes. Information technology plays a central role in this scenario, as the basis for the rapid implementation and adaptation of business models.

As a result of the study, managers fear less the competition from new growth regions than the consolidation among existing market participants. More than 60 percent believe that company size is important for the survival of an organization over the next five years. The ability to adapt quickly to change makes 33 percent the biggest management challenge – for 68 percent, it is one of the three key tasks for the next few years. In this context, 54 percent of higher-flexibility managers attach greater importance to implementing new business models than new products or service offerings. At the same time, they expect that customers, shareholders and employees will face even higher – and often contradictory – claims on organizations.

“In order to be successful in 2010, flexibility, openness, cooperation and speed must become part of the corporate culture,” explains Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP. »Companies will increasingly focus on their core competencies and rely even more on an integrated network of partner and supplier companies to meet customer expectations in terms of flexibility and convenience. In such a business ecosystem of different companies, it must be possible to quickly implement new business models to gain competitive advantage. «

“Designating information technology as commodity would be premature,” commented Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Management at MIT Sloan School and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for E-Business. “Over the next five years, we’ll probably see more innovation in IT deployment than ever before. This new study aligns with our understanding that IT is playing an increasingly important role in developing new business models and focusing more on the customer. As the cost of IT decreases, the potential for innovation that is only made possible by IT increases. “

“The pace of globalization and technological change is resulting in ever shorter innovation cycles,” adds Daniel Franklin, Editorial Director, Economist Intelligence Unit. »In addition, there is a worldwide trend towards liberalization in sectors and markets. In the next few years, the speed with which changes take place will become even greater. Managers know the clock is ticking faster. “

“The study shows that flexibility, openness, collaboration and speed of business are the result of the right use of information technology,” concludes Denis McCauley, Director of Global Technology Research, Economist Intelligence Unit. “Managers seem to regain the conviction that technology is a driver of economic change.”

In the area of storage solutions, consolidation projects and intelligent storage concepts such as SAN and NAS have contributed to coping with the flood of data in recent years. Nevertheless, growth in storage requirements continues to be unbroken. Over the next few years, the Meta Group expects global storage growth of approximately 45 percent annually, of which 20 to 25 percent for enterprise storage (monolithic), 50 to 55 percent for midrange systems (modular), and 80 to 85 percent for capacity-based storage Storage systems (SATA / ATA). The ratio of prices to capacity (storage) will continue to improve by about 35 percent annually in the coming years.

This entails an increasing complexity of the storage networks, while the storage hardware itself increasingly becomes a “commodity”. The focus today is on storage without end-to-end management and software-based information life-cycle functionalities. In fact, an explosion of data overload from enterprise applications and growing compliance requirements are challenging organizations to manage not only the sheer volume of data, but also to manage it more effectively and reduce the complexity of storage networks. Added to this is the need to take sufficient account of business continuity and disaster recovery concepts. In this context, the purely technical aspects of storage management are becoming increasingly compatible with the business-specific requirements of content management, which drives forward the implementation of the vision of information life cycle management (ILM).

More frustration than pleasure?

RFID is still a frustration factor due to the lack of standardization. Only the creative approach on the part of dealers, manufacturers and consultants can bring the technology also cost-effective in the companies. While Wal-Mart has successfully introduced RFID, many other vendors cannot simply adopt the model and are frustrated trying to apply it.

There is no standard approach to integrating RFID into a business, says Sara Shah of ABI Research, who has published a study on the topic. Many RFID manufacturers – in most cases still completely new companies – understand nothing of the trade. Conversely, the dealers are not sufficiently informed how RFID could benefit their company. That’s why you get frustrated quickly. Although the Wal-Mart model is a role model and a pioneer, it is not transferable to other companies, as every company functions differently, as does the supply chain. In addition, the RFID willingness consultants – in most cases the six largest ones – were not among those who accept new technologies early but rather wait until they mature. In addition to supply chain management, no one knows which application areas RFID still has.

The market for information technology and telecommunications is expected to grow solid again in the coming years. Sales in Western Europe are expected to increase by 3.8 percent in the current year 2005 to 616 billion euros, in 2006 by 3.7 percent to 639 billion euros. The world market is expected to grow by 4.3 percent this year and by 4.8 percent in 2006.

Telecommunications services should already be able to do this. There is a lack of coordination between corporate goals and IT. The communication gap between the IT directors and the board is critical, especially when changing corporate goals.

Business leadership must respond to changing market conditions as corporate strategy evolves, but CIOs are also required to adapt their IT strategy to changing business conditions. Often, however, this change of strategy is only insufficiently communicated by the management to the CIOs and IT managers. More than half of IT executives surveyed complain about an information gap that prevents IT from aligning with business goals or late. 54 percent of the IT specialists surveyed say that changing corporate goals results in changing IT requirements. After all, 31 percent believe that a year-on-year growth level of 3.5 percent and 3.3 percent will be maintained in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In the individual subsections of telecommunications services, however, the development is very different. For example, landline data services increased by eight percent and mobile telephony by a good five percent. On the other hand, EITO experts are predicting a slight decline in voice telephony in the fixed network. The changes are expected to take place very dynamically at least every twelve months.

At 48 percent, almost half of all respondents are convinced that a harmonious alignment of business goals and IT must be the necessary response. In their view, aligning IT with business goals has a significant impact on business success. On the other hand, one in three regrets that communication between the IT director and CEO or marketing is too short. After all, 16 percent learn either not at all or only informally of changes in business strategies. Nearly a third of respondents also believe that existing IT resources and their capabilities are continuously overestimated. Furthermore, 28 percent of respondents complain about the lack of human resources in the IT team in order to keep pace with the change.

Develop revenues in e-commerce. Around 680 billion euros were transacted here in Western Europe in 2004, with almost 90 percent of these between companies, ie in the so-called B2B area. In 2008, EITO expects Western Europe to generate e-commerce revenues of € 2.2 trillion. This is more than the current German gross domestic product.