Magazine Article | January 1, 2000

Break Time Is Over

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Y2K has passed, and you're still standing. Now comes the real challenge — choosing IT projects that will knock your competitors off their feet.

Integrated Solutions, January 2000
If you're reading this, I can assume one of the following scenarios to be true. One, you experienced no Y2K problems, your feet are rested on your desk, and you are enjoying the fruits of months of preparedness. Two, you are the only person in the world with an overstaffed IT (information technology) department, and you have time to read while your colleagues scurry about trying to keep your post-Y2K system up and running. Three, your company experienced massive Y2K problems, and Integrated Solutions just happened to be sitting atop the cardboard box of belongings you recently carried out of your office. Regardless of your situation, Y2K is over. It's time to exhale and think about the future.

Pick A Direction And Start Running
There's no doubt that a lot of IT initiatives were put on hold in the last six months of 1999. If I had a nickel for every IT person who expressed this thought to me in one form or another, I could afford an SAP implementation — well, maybe not. Companies that survived Y2K unscathed are now ready to shoot out of the technology starting blocks. In which direction will your company sprint?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is certainly an option. Odds are, your company has been tweaking its ERP system for the past few months. Or, you're evaluating ERP options for a 2000 implementation. Now, it may be time to gather tons of customer information through software that can be tightly integrated with your ERP system. If you don't think CRM solutions are going to have a big effect on the enterprise, you're in the minority. Consider that PeopleSoft plans to acquire The Vantive Corporation; Nortel Networks already acquired Clarify; and Mosaix merged with Lucent Technologies.

Additionally, SAP and Baan recently unveiled their CRM initiatives. If you're in charge of IT, the concept of an integrated system to handle sales and marketing, field service, help desk service, and customer support should be too intriguing to ignore. Improved supply chain management is also an initiative to attack. If you attended SCANTECH '99, you saw plenty of WMS (warehouse management system) and RF (radio frequency) vendors hawking technology that improves business processes and increases productivity. These improvements result in hard-dollar savings that are immediately reflected in the bottom line. How can any company not be motivated by this fact? Maybe it's time to finally charge ahead with an e-commerce strategy. Hold on — what about implementing a SAN (storage area network) to manage the terabytes of data your company is generating? Wait a minute — you're also up to your eyeballs in paper, and you really should be considering a document management and imaging system. But, what about the business intelligence tools you promised to your sales and marketing departments? Someone, please, stop the insanity.

2000 And Beyond
You probably thought preparing for Y2K was the most demanding mission of your IT career. However, you may find post-Y2K even more daunting. With Y2K, you were able to rally your troops against a single enemy. Now, you must choose wisely the IT projects that you take on. This is the task facing Dade Behring Inc. — the company featured on the cover of Integrated Solutions. Dade Behring is steadily putting its ERP system in place. Now it must prioritize its next technology initiatives. And, as is the case with all companies, the competition is waiting for one false step.

While it might seem like a miracle, Y2K has passed, and you're still standing. It's time to take on the next millennium.

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