What's going to be new in 2002? I look for 2002 to be a year of retrenchment in IT. Budgets were slashed at the beginning of the last fiscal year and that will affect spending through the spring and summer, with some possible relief in the fourth quarter as the economy starts to pick up.
It's been my experience that lean times bring out lots of imaginative solutions. Look for small, tailored solutions implemented by individual departments rather than bold, enterprise-wide deployments. If a company's overall IT budget gets too constrained, you can expect profitable departments to start hiring their own staff and put money in their budgets for servers/desktops/printers/etc. This "balkanization" often occurs in IT when individual departments decide that they can run their computers better than corporate IT.
Security will continue to be a major focus for strategic initiatives. Small and medium-sized businesses that might have spend 1% of their IT budget on security measures in previous years could spend as much as 5-10% of their budget on security in 2002. This will put pressure on the technical staff to learn, implement and manage those security initiatives.
I predict that Windows .NET Server, due for release mid-year, will get off to a slow start because of lean budgets, but then start to take off as administrators and architects get to know its new features. By October, large companies will start upgrading to Active Directory to take advantage of its improved multi-site replication performance and the ability to create ad-hoc forests.
William Boswell, MCSE, is a senior instructor and consultant for trainAbility, a Windows technology training firm based in Scottsdale, AZ. Bill has trained thousands of system administrators on the inner workings of Windows 2000/NT. His extensive, hands-on knowledge coupled with a unique sense of humor and flair for analogy has earned Bill enthusiastic commendations from his clients and students. He is the author of "Inside Windows 2000 Server."