Paul O’Riordan is managing director of Oracle Ireland.
What do you see as the major IT trends over the next 12 months?
There are three major trends: the first one is optimising performance, high availability, security and disaster recovery. 5×8 uptime is no longer an option — systems must be available on a 24×7 basis.
The second trend is going to be around architecture — adhering to sound architectural principles and standards that will facilitate consolidation of systems and much tighter integration between systems.
We expect to see service-oriented architecture maturing very rapidly and becoming the accepted norm.
Finally, we are seeing a major uptake in managed services whereby customers are looking to third parties to support, manage and increasingly run their applications and infrastructure for them.
In your view, are Irish organisations innovative when it comes to implementing technology?
There are lots of examples of innovation and many Irish organisations are in the vanguard of this. We should be proud in many cases of what we have done where we are truly global pioneers, eg Revenue On-Line Service, Motor Tax Online, airline reservations online and so on.
The single biggest challenge that faces the IT industry, however, is to assist, guide and mentor businesspeople in their understanding of IT; to help them understand the benefits; and for businesses to accept that IT is an enabler for the business, rather than a box in the corner. This requires genuine leadership.
It’s disappointing that the full value of IT is not understood at the highest levels within Government, particularly given the positioning of Ireland as a knowledge economy.
We strongly advocate the appointment of a full-time ICT Minister to drive the issue and provide the appropriate levels of leadership at the Cabinet table.
Research shows that Irish businesses still spend more on IT hardware than on software and services, unlike their European counterparts. Why is this?
This is a reflection of two factors: the first is the obvious fact of the significant increase in our workforce where people need additional PCs, printers and so on; the second and more worrying one is the relative underinvestment in software and applications by businesses in Ireland.
We believe that many organisations are operating near breaking point through old applications, old technology and a lack of appreciation of what IT can deliver for their business.
By Gordon Smith