Trylon Communications  - March 2004

Tech Editors See 2004 Rebound

While no one was predicting a boom reminiscent of the late 1990s, a trio of top technology journalists was encouraging about sales and the prospects for new technologies during a panel discussion held earlier this month at the New York Software Industry Association's Sales & Marketing Special Interest Group (Click here for web site). The panel was moderated by Trylon Communications, Inc. 
President Lloyd P. Trufelman. (This is part two of two - for part one click here.)

Although the three tech editors who participated in the discussion – Stephen Lynch of the New York Post, Erick Schonfeld of Business 2.0 and Josh Weinberger of Ziff Davis’ Baseline – cover the tech arena from different angles, they all expect a modest upswing in corporate tech spending this year.  They did, however, have divergent views regarding e-mail spam.

Steve Lynch of the Post doesn’t feel that the problem is as widespread as is being reported. “It is definitely overstated. If people weren’t buying, the spammers wouldn’t be sending,” he said, pointing out that most spam filters catch the majority of unwanted messages. He doesn’t believe that spam is a serious drag on productivity in the workplace.

Weinberg says that while filters can catch about 80 percent of spam, going through the unwanted messages takes time. “And now that spammers are looking to move offshore in response to the recent CAN-SPAM legislation, the problem is not going to go away.”

The panelists did agree on another topic: search engine technology needs to improve, and recent moves by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! should spark some competition.

“There is definitely room for better search technology,” Weinberg said. “It is not about finding everything, it is about finding what you need.” He also pointed out that paid search is the only form of online advertising that has yielded results, so there is plenty of incentive to improve search engines.

Another technology improvement the panelists are hoping for: better wireless Internet access. “Since most new laptops come with cards for wireless access, broadband wireless access nationwide is key,” according to Lynch.

As Wi-Fi technology becomes more widely available, the panel predicted that corporate buyers will see it as a cost-saving tool that can be implemented on the corporate campus, allowing users to connect through traditional means or by Wi-Fi, based on network traffic and costs at the time.

While keeping telecom costs down is one way that corporations will be looking to control technology costs, Baseline’s Weinberger noted that outsourcing as a cost-saving measure may have hit its limits.

“It used to be a question of what can be outsourced,” Weinberger said. “Now, it is a question of what not to outsource, because once something is outsourced it is never coming back. There is some backlash against outsourcing now.”

In wrapping up the discussion, panelists were asked specifically about trends in technology in New York. Schonfeld pointed to FreshDirect, which is one of the few e-commerce success stories, as proof that the sector is not dead.

Weinberger pointed out that the bid for the Olympics in 2012 will have a huge and lasting impact on technology investment in New York. “The plan is for $100 million to be invested in technology,” he said, providing a much-needed boost to the New York tech sector.