Swainson: Greatest challenge lies in effective technology management

NEW YORK--Often technology identified as being the next big thing fails to live up to expectations, CA Inc.'s President and CEO John Swainson said at the Interop New York trade show.

One thing customers and vendors can count on is that IT systems will continue to become much more complex. That complexity should result in tremendous business opportunities for IT companies, Swainson said during a keynote address Wednesday.

"I believe the next big thing in IT will be to manage all the new big things in IT," Swainson said.

Some IT executives are predicting that PIN numbers will disappear in favor of biometrics. Others see enterprise applications being defined by their simplicity of use and ease of interoperability.

"Of course one clear message that emerges from a glance at past predictions is that the next big thing is largely a media fed mirage," Swainson said. "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short term and underestimate its impact in the long run."

In reality it often takes technology a long time to have an impact, but when it does its impact often exceeds expectations. That is why technology is invariably used in ways never imagined. The Internet is a perfect case in point of that theory, Swainson said.

"The truth is that there is no one big thing, there are many big things happening simultaneously," Swainson said. "Lots of emerging technologies and ways of leveraging technology have the potential to make a significant impact on the way we live and work. And all these innovations, changes and trends contribute to the direction that the IT industry is going to take over the next couple of years."

Figuring out how to manage an IT environment that becomes more and more complex is sure to be an area of growth. In every large organization there are multiple PC suppliers, networking products, applications and management security providers.

What keeps CIOs awake at night? How to manage a system like that for maximum efficiency, effectiveness and security, he said.

"To me, and to the CIOs I talk to everyday, that's truly the central question of IT today," Swainson said.

Much of that complexity arises because organizations continue to automate business processes. While that ensures that productivity will increase, it does add another layer of complexity in the IT environment every time that's done.

Industry and not deal with the trend towards complexity as it has in the past; throwing human at the problem of managing and securing IT. The combination the expense of labor and a shortage of IT workers makes that paradigm impossible in the future.

A relentless push towards automating IT management will be the key to solving the issue, Swainson said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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