Dot-com Big Bang

PwC: Burst bubble marks beginning, not end, of e-business

Menlo Park, CA  April 24, 2002  The crash of the dot-com wave left a host of bankrupt or otherwise battered solution providers in its wake, but the bursting bubble marked not the end but rather just the beginning of e-business, asserts a new study from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In the latest edition of its annual Technology Forecast study, PwC argues that the continual evolution of enterprise applications and enabling software has not slowed with the economy. In fact, with the dot-com "gold rush" over, the information technology (IT) industry is going back to work and refocusing on building the tools and infrastructure needed to push e-business further into every facet of business activity and everyday life.

"Many companies felt the pain of the dot-com implosion, but the exuberance that marked the past few years left behind some very positive aspects that will help carve out the future of enterprise software," said Mike Katz, chief operating officer and managing director for PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Center.

"The addition of inter-enterprise capabilities has been the major factor influencing the development of corporate applications during the past few years," Katz continued, "and the future will see increasing sophistication of these capabilities as suppliers release their next generation of e-business-enabled applications, leading to significant changes in the software industry."

PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology Forecast 20022004, Volume 1, entitled "Navigating the Future of Software," explores the ongoing emphasis on inter-enterprise capabilities and other functional enhancement trends influencing the development of enterprise applications, including analytic capabilities, collaboration, mobility, portals, real-time computing and usability. The forecast also explores the ongoing evolution of enabling software technologies, looking at three software architectures used to satisfy the technical requirements of enterprise applications: application integration, componentization and Web services.

"Possibly the greatest technical challenge facing most large organizations today in their use of information technology is application integration," said Eric Berg, managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Technology Centre and editor-in-chief of the Forecast, which has been published since 1988.

Berg explained that many enterprises now are  or soon will be  in the midst of a transition from a software architecture based on the use of EAI middleware to connect packaged application suites to one in which applications are divided into smaller components that are much easier to integrate.

"However," Berg noted, "the realization of the Web services vision will be unlikely during the three-year forecast period, particularly because the concept assumes that companies will be willing to do business with new and unfamiliar business partners. Instead, Web services are more likely to be used during the forecast period for integration between trusted business partners and for integrating applications within an enterprise."

The second volume of the PwC's Technology Forecast, scheduled for release in October, will focus on information technology infrastructure.