This synthesis gathers also some comments delivered while interviewing and not registered in the previous tables.
Impacts of External Events
The decisions coming from the laws or from the Administration are so important that they constitute 21% of major facts that are transforming the activity of the firms. If we add the technical constraints and the transformations of the Society, we could almost find here up to 30% of outstanding facts.
The transformation of the activity generated new organizations, new needs and new investments for information system. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of outstanding facts rose strongly with the issues year 2000, the switch to Euro, the deregulation of telecom business line, etc.
Since the last ones are strongly declining since 2001, it results in a less need in information system, especially because of last investments are long-time oriented - 6 years on average. This explains for a large part why the IT business line is in crisis, albeit the global slow of the economy.
Maturity of the Economy
Economy is globally mature as we could state from the following indicators:
The result is a focus on the optimization of the industrial assets, on the costs killing and on an increasingly caring for the clients.
45% of the participants foresee a concentration of the actors that are in direct competition.
31% foresee a change in positioning to be differentiated from the competitors.
47% of the actors foresee a concentration of the suppliers, which decreases by this way the number of registered ones.
29% foresee marketing dynamic for them. It means that 71% would differentiate only on the price according to the point of view of their clients!
57% of the actors perceive an increasingly strong requirement from their customers.
27% of outstanding facts are coming from strategic decisions acting on differentiation.
18% of outstanding facts are coming from strategic decisions acting on optimization of costs.
The economy is however dynamic on some segments:
- One third of the actors have a growing strategy that is based on their resources.
They are mainly the actors less suffering of the competition.
- One tenth of the actors have a growing strategy that is market driven.
They are mainly the actors suffering lightly from the competition.
- No actors that are suffering from competition or from the pressure of clients have a growing strategy.
Should they be condemned in years?
Rationalization of IT Equipments
After the Information and Communication New Technologies (ICNT) bubble, the investments are much wise: instead of being the first in the technological race, they choose to invest in projects that have a real return on investment in less than one year - criterion quoted by themselves by almost the half of the actors. The time is to sane management since the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) counts for 24% of the selecting criterion. This is especially true for the firms under a strong competitive pressure like the industry business line.
The IT employees are no more the ones who decide the operational piloting of the activities of the firm but the users, which should strongly decrease the failure of IT projects. The decision is up to the functional department. The requirements of the users are more easily taken into account in the firms having a strong corporate culture or willing to develop human resources.
To summarize, IT department is no more a "Research & Development laboratory" but a support function to serve operational employees in order to ease their work, to decrease the production costs or to improve the quality of the products and the services. A project is only started if he will create enough value for the firm, except external constraint. It is most often involved into a corporate project.
The promise of revolution because of Information and Communication New Technologies (ICNT) is not real for the firms: only 5% of the actors claim that is a real revolution for their activities! However, as Sébastien BACHOLET, Cigref, noticed it, all majors firms are using daily an internal electronic mail, a tool that they could no more give up today.
It is unusual to find actors that are using them for the core of the information system. They are most often used to share documents or to create the Intranet / Extranet. Some actors who had tried to use them stopped their experience to come back to traditional technologies they judge to be more adapted.
After focusing on functional information system instead of the technical one, we could say that the Information and Communication New Technologies (ICNT) made a small flop for the business-oriented IT.
In the same way, the entering of the free software stays weak, reserved to Intranet / Internet servers, due to a lack of trust.
Rationalization of the Solutions
80% of the information systems are built around corner-stone solutions that each software designer should master:
- Choice of global vertical software - SAP, Oracle Applications and Peoplesoft.
- Choice of an open system - Windows, even Unix.
- Choice of an architecture:
- Client-server for the security.
- Thin client for the modernity - Java J2EE / Microsoft ASP newly .NET.
- Choice of a programming language - Java, 4GL, even C++.
- Choice of a database - Oracle, even Db2.
- To decide for a strategy using a traditional stage for specification followed by an incremental stage for realization, what must be validated through prototypes, lasting 12 months on average.
- Project realization delegated to two main actors whom brands are a promising success - Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and IBM Global Services.
- Once the application is stable, its maintaining is also delegated to the same service suppliers.