It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It has been a mixed year for IT managers up and down the country. Computerworld drew a wide range of responses when it surveyed 30 of the top 1000 New Zealand companies on the biggest IT issue they faced in 1997. While the year 2000 issue has dominated the press this year, only six respondents thought of it as the biggest issue. The remaining responses were a mixture of concerns about new technology, network and system upgrades, time and resource constraints, data security, Internet/intranet implications and budget constraints.

It has been a mixed year for IT managers up and down the country. Computerworld drew a wide range of responses when it surveyed 30 of the top 1000 New Zealand companies on the biggest IT issue they faced in 1997.

While the year 2000 issue has dominated the press this year, only six respondents thought of it as the biggest issue. The remaining responses were a mixture of concerns about new technology, network and system upgrades, time and resource constraints, data security, Internet/intranet implications and budget constraints.

Most people (27) thought it was a good year for IT, with three saying it was average and none saying it was bad. The responses were also varied when IT managers were asked about the best thing to happen in IT this year.

Overall upgrades to networks and systems rated tops, including successful implementation of manufacturing and financial systems, rolling out Citrix clients, rolling out Windows NT, and Internet/intranet implementations.

Falling prices of hardware, software, ISDN and networking equipment were also listed as the best things about 1997.

Microsoft featured highly in the worst thing to happen in IT in 1997 responses. Microsoft Word 97 incompatibility with Windows 95 and Windows 98 bugs drew criticism.

“Most things about Microsoft,” was the response from Kevin Wilson of Hamilton- based New Zealand Dairy Packers. “We upgraded to Windows 95 and while it has a few nice features it is no more stable than 3.1. We have a Microsoft Select agreement, which is expensive for what we get out of it, and every time you upgrade the software you practically need a new PC to run it on. We have a lot of PCs which are three years old and they’re no longer good enough and they need a huge amount of disk.”

Richard Winter of Tait Electronics in Christchurch listed Microsoft’s “Java non-conformance” as the worst thing about 1997.

He says his company works with a wide variety of operating systems and languages including Unix and Java. “What matters to us is open standards that are universal across all platforms.”

Another respondent’s comment “We bought some Compaqs”, was also listed as one of the worst things about 1997.

On a more general note, people listed server crashes, backup failures, shortage of IT skills, consultants raising their fees, migration to new systems and staff leaving.

New technology was listed as both the best and the worst things of 1997.

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