Connect with cost-savings: opinion

Why all the fuss over new technologies? There’s always the gee-whiz factor – smaller computers and faster networks are never boring. But the real magic behind new technologies, especially for hardheaded IT executives on a tight budget, is that they can save your company money.

Of course, there are many ways to save money. Some new technologies simply reduce costs over the long haul; others give you a better ROI than alternatives; and still others save you money by protecting your assets. In this issue, our third roundup of hot new technologies this year, the InfoWorld Test Center looks at technologies that fall into each of these categories.

Wireless networks don’t bring anything new to end-users. They allow workers to do exactly the same things they’ve done before: connect to corporate data sources, exchange e-mail, and surf the Web. But wireless LANs may be one of the best long-term investments your company can make right now, because they give your network managers the flexibility to upgrade, reconfigure, or extend the corporate network without the hassle, time, and often staggering costs involved with installing cable.

For immediate benefits, consider implementing wireless LANs to support mobile users, instead of making them fend for a spare network jack whenever they visit the home office. Mobile computers such as Compaq Computer Corp.’s Evo Notebook N400C, which incorporates a wireless NIC (network interface card) module into the display panel to reduce RF (radio frequency) interference and keep network connections strong, makes it easier for IT staff to configure and support wireless LAN clients.

E-business is about making connections with business partners. This isn’t easy to do. Until Web services delivers on its promise, integrating applications the old-fashioned way will continue to be difficult and expensive, requiring careful planning and programming expertise.

Wouldn’t it be great if managing integration projects were as simple as plugging in a piece of hardware? That’s the idea behind the Syncx integration appliances from CommerceRoute, which aim to provide a more cost-effective way to weave together disparate applications and data sources, be they inside or outside company walls.

Integration appliances promise a better ROI than traditional EAI (enterprise application integration) methods. Anti-DDoS (distributed denial of service) tools promise to save you money by thwarting disaster. It’s difficult to tally the total costs when a hacker’s DDoS attack blocks customers from your e-commerce site or workers from your corporate network. Forrester Research Inc. estimates the average cost at $23,000, but who wants to find out? Anti-DDoS tools can provide early warnings of attacks so you can work with your ISP to minimize the damage.

Wireless networks, integration appliances, and anti-DDoS tools: three hot new technologies, and more important, three ways to save your company money.