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From the Editor in chief: Fresh Perspectives, New Ideas to Start 2004


Pages: pp. 4-5

Abstract—Welcome to a new year of IT Professional. Our editorial board enters this year optimistic that the technical recession of the last two years finally appears to be easing.

For each issue this year, we have set an ambitious schedule of themes and topics to continue updating our readers on baseline IT topics of interest.


Our first issue for this year offers insight into the complexities of outsourcing. Siva Namasivayam of Perot Systems gives us an outstanding perspective on how factors such as lower labor costs and improved process efficiencies are forcing companies to take a fresh look at business process outsourcing. Phillip A. Laplante and colleagues offer their views on the five Ws: What is outsourcing? Why outsource? Who should outsource? Where should you outsource? When should you outsource?

Our March-April issue will include material addressing the skill sets of successful technical managers; we're looking for tips from leading CIOs. This issue will also focus on grid computing, an approach in which several computers work together on complex calculations in parallel. Some forms of grid computing use computers that would be otherwise idle to perform calculations, offering the promise of vastly increased efficiency. Concerns about maintaining the security of system operations, however, often affect a company's ability to use grid computing. Our lead article for this topic addresses some of these concerns. We are seeking follow-up material on grid computing, to continue exploring this field as it evolves.

We are also preparing to introduce some new views in the evolving knowledge management area in our May-June issue. The industry is calling the latest methods in this area knowledge discovery because it is more than just management when coupled with new data mining and intelligent database management techniques. We are also offering the latest information in storage area networks for your library of IT topics. Knowledge discovery and storage area network design are important to explore this year because of the mass information overload that we are experiencing or have experienced since the turn of our century.

Later in the year, we will feature articles on advances in software for the new millennium; middleware applications within the enterprise domain; wireless networks and their need for added security; and academic considerations in IT, such as accreditation and the relationships we observe between academia and industry. We are also looking to offer some interesting papers addressing the convergence of network services. Converging network services include items such as the unification of intrusion detection, VPN, and firewall technologies.

We anticipate interesting dialogues on open-system software and new perspectives in wireless networking and systems. To serve the increasingly mobile Internet environments of the future, these systems will necessarily emphasize security.

Finally, for the coming issues, we are looking forward to some interesting Perspective articles from Jeff Voas, our associate editor in chief, Perspectives. They will address, among other issues, IT's role in nanotechnology and the blackout phenomena in the power industry from an IT perspective. We'd like feedback from you about all of our Perspectives material as well as on IT Pro's new column, The Ivory Tower, which we are initiating this year. Sorel Reisman, professor of information systems and decision sciences at the California State University, Fullerton, will offer his and other writers' perspectives on issues in IT-related education. We hope this column will spur your interest and allow us to hear your views.


This year the Computer Society Publications Board has allowed me once more to lead this prestigious magazine as its editor in chief. Our roster of experts includes some new editorial and advisory board member changes, and I am anticipating more to follow as we find outstanding individuals willing to offer their experience. At the beginning of this new year, I would like to express my appreciation for the outstanding efforts of our editorial staff; our existing editorial board and advisory board members; and especially to my associate editors-in-chief, Arnold Bragg, principal scientist at MCNC Research and Development Institute in Raleigh, N.C.; and Jeff Voas, cofounder and chief scientist of Cigital in Dulles, Va. Their support and guidance in keeping good material flowing into our pages have been invaluable. I also wish to thank Morris Chang from Iowa State University and Granville (Randy) Miller from Borland for their willingness to join our list of outstanding editorial board members.


As the year moves on, please feel free to comment to me directly or to any of our editors and staff members on how you feel we are doing to meet your needs. Given sufficient comments, we are considering opening a future Letters to the Editor column. We would like to encourage this from you because it will help us focus on new material aimed at benefiting you the most. The aim, as always, is to serve you, the IT professionals.



Frank E. Ferrante

Editor in Chief

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