07 Feb Interview: State CIO predicts small businesses and SOA will shape Wisconsin
To Matt Miszewski, Wisconsin’s best bet for 2005 is to do things faster. If the state wants to build off the accomplishments of 2004, it needs to watch the growth of small businesses and take a lesson from their agility.
Miszewski, the state’s chief information officer and the head of the Division of Enterprise Technology, spoke with WTN about the direction he sees Wisconsin taking in 2005. The chief designer of the state’s enterprise IT platform, Miszewski outlined the plans for state growth last November at the Digital Government Summit.
In addition to developing the state’s IT plan, he will be a featured panelist at the Fusion 2005 CEO-CIO Symposium on March 1-2.
WTN: A month into 2005, have any big surprises developed in the IT market?
Miszewski: In the past few months there have been a few things that have occurred that help to redefine the IT market space. Certainly the IBM desktop deal with Lenovo is large in terms of impact and importance. HP’s decision to highlight mobility in light of that certainly helps define the market as well. And SBC‘s bid to purchase AT&T is enormous.
I think, however, that the ongoing concentration on infrastructure and cost containment services is even more telling. As we concentrate on highly efficient infrastructure, the push to customer-focused open standards is incredible. Having large-scale players continue to embrace open standards at the cost of proprietary systems is an enormous win for large enterprise customers.
WTN: What trends in technology or business from 2004 do you think led to this?
Miszewski: Two things. The incredible pressure on IT budgets creates enterprise leaders to focus on efficiency. In addition, the large increase in the demand for electronic delivery of services is unparalleled. It has become an expectation that governments and companies provide services and interactions online in a way that is different than before. We now must make sure that consumers, citizens and business decision makers have access to information where they need it, when they need it and delivered in the most consumable way.
WTN: What do you think will be the next big thing that we will see this year in the IT world? Where is the industry heading?
Miszewski: Service oriented architecture … will come to reality in 2005. Not only in application development and deployment, but also in terms of application integration, data sharing and business process optimization. The model of SOA is directly applicable to business process design and orchestration, [and] the companies that see this opportunity and jump on it will be ahead of the curve.
WTN: What company or technology do you think is in a position to really make an impact? Is it in big businesses or small start-ups?
Miszewski: Small companies will continue to put intense pressure on large companies to change and become more responsive. For instance, one small company that we do business with, Cape Clear, Inc., is in the enterprise service bus business enabling SOAs. That small company had delivered what large organizations had been offering for a few years at a fraction of the cost.
When we moved on Cape Clear and others started coming along, you started to see the bigger organizations adopt the business model. While that is a specific example, there are myriad. Small and agile groups will be used by the big companies to more rapidly develop markets.
WTN: On the other hand, what do you think looks like a technology that has little hope of getting off the ground?
Miszewski: Blade-oriented desktops will probably struggle in the short term although they will eventually flourish. The price points are too high right now in terms of acquisition costs, even though the total cost of ownership is lower. Acquisitions cost figures are key right now, sometimes at the cost of great technologies like these. Eventually, the turnover will happen, but the timing is not right currently.
WTN: What other trends from 2004 will reflect what happens in 2005? What happened or didn’t happen in 2004 that you though would?
Miszewski: Vendor consolidations will have a big impact. The Peoplesoft/Oracle merger, the SBC/AT&T deal as well as Business Objects and Crystal Reports will lead to more efficiency. The downside is vendor lock-in, [which] will eventually result if the consolidations go too far. It will become difficult for large enterprises to protect themselves by diversifying their data centers.
WTN: Does it look like an optimistic or a pessimistic year for Wisconsin businesses?
Miszewski: This will be a fantastically optimistic year for Wisconsin businesses. From Milwaukee leading the Midwest in job growth to the State as a whole nearly topping that list, things couldn’t look much better. As unemployment continues to decline and the governor continues to concentrate on growing our economy, local companies will feel comfortable expanding and new companies will choose to locate here. If we keep a tight eye on our fiscal situation and continue to make well planned out decisions, growth will continue on its upward trajectory.