The IT industry may not look so hot today, but the future, according to a survey of CEOs is bright.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) conducted a CEO opinion survey and white paper on the future of technology entitled, Enabling Tomorrow’s Innovations. In that survey, which had research

from IDC, highlights the views and opinions of the nation’s leading technology CEOs on future IT innovations and the challenges to their widespread application.

Of particular importance, the study concludes that despite the fact that three decades of astonishing software innovations have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, “”the best is yet to come.””

For example, the study predicts that 75 per cent or more of the benefits software will deliver lie ahead, and that the industry is set to create over 1.5 million new high paying jobs worldwide and generate an additional $290 billion in global tax benefits over the next four years.

The white paper also contains a “”call to action,”” which details five concrete steps businesses and governments must take to realize technology’s full potential.

Throughout the summer of 2003, the BSA CEOs provided their thoughts and perceptions on a range of issues related to future trends in technology and innovation. The IDC research predicts that several innovative technologies will gain widespread adoption over the next 10 years, estimating:

  • About 65 per cent of the world’s billion-plus Web users will be able to access the Internet from a wireless device;
  • The number of people playing games online will swell to 100 million;
  • The number of converged cell phone-PDAs will jump from 4 million to 80 million; and
  • Local wireless hotspots will grow from 20,000 to 140,000.

Predictions from the research estimate that productivity improvements in the next five years could yield up to $140 billion in annual cost savings to industries. Additionally, efforts to make the Internet safe for all commercial transactions would help Internet commerce grow a full six times, expanding from $1 trillion last year to nearly $6 trillion by 2006.

“”Today, every business process is more efficient and every worker is more productive because of innovations brought forth by commercial software,”” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “”No matter the industry or application, software continues to redefine the concepts of productivity as we know it. And the next wave of breakthrough innovations is close upon us. Such areas as wireless technologies, nanotechnology, grid computing and others already show huge promise.””

Noting that there are challenges to reaping the full potential of some future innovations, the study concludes with a “”call to action,”” which identifies five concrete steps necessary to promote next-generation technologies and the benefits they will drive:

  • Invest in Innovation – Public and private investment in research accelerates the development process and speeds the benefits to businesses and consumers.
  • Protect Intellectual Property – Without such protection, investors won’t invest and software developers and computer makers won’t be able to create cutting-edge products.
  • Focus on Users – This means creating easy-to-use, secure and reliable software that can be optimized to a particular business environment.
  • Advance Business Models as Well as Technology – Business models must continue to be adjusted, advanced and evolved. New delivery, development and deployment techniques promise new choices and options for businesses and consumers alike.
  • Invest in Skilled Workforce – Fully reaping the benefits of innovation will require a world class education system, access to the best minds and the ability to attract and retain skilled workers through compensation linked to company performance.

“”As this research illustrates, the thread of innovation continues to proliferate worldwide, providing economic and societal benefits for citizens around the globe. While there are still a great number of challenges to address, the best is yet to come. Confidence in software innovation is uniquely strong due to its ability to truly transform our personal and professional lives. And the true potential of software innovation has yet to be realized,”” said Holleyman.

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