Well here we are again. We survived several days in close proximity to a bunch of relatives that we just can’t stand. We have scoffed more turkey and cheese than it’s humanly possible for any digestive system to cope with. Now it’s back to business and the prospect of 2007. But let’s be upbeat and make some resolutions for the coming 12 months on behalf of the IT industry and some of its celebrated figures.
Oracle’s Larry Ellison – please resolve to stop buying up hapless software companies and focus on delivering the integration of the ones that you’ve already acquired. OK, your former-Siebel customers have a pretty happy (smug?) air about them but the PeopleSoft users are revolting. As for the JD Edwards punters, I don’t think I’ve seen such a dysfunctional lot this side of The Jeremy Kyle Show. Perhaps if we were to shout at them in a caring fashion like Jeremy does, they might pull themselves together and stop feeling sorry for themselves; alternatively, you might want to give them some kind of concrete assurance that they didn’t just become a maintenance release in your expanding empire. Oh and Larry – get your beady eyes and greedy wallet off RedHat. And while we’re at it, stop dragging innocent penguins on to the stage with you. Happy Feet? I don’t think so.

Back of the net

NetSuite – a bit more oomph please chaps. There were some encouraging signs of beefed up marketing and ‘pizzaz’ late last year, so let’s see that continuing. If you’re going to make it through the IPO then an extra push is in order. On the subject of the IPO, it might be as well to get your Mr Ellison – yup, him again – to sort out a public position on the flotation or encourage your staff to stop fuelling speculation that the great man might throw his toys out of the pram and scupper the IPO in order to keep NetSuite as his plaything. I don’t believe that’s likely for a moment but it would be as well to kill those rumours now.

Talking of killing, how about a mercy one for the NHS IT project? I know it’s terribly controversial but a trip to the metaphorical equivalent of a clinic in Switzerland would do us all a favour. It would also give our NHS tax revenues a chance to be spent on something else – I don’t know, something frivolous, like doctors.
I know there’s no direct correlation between the IT budget and other areas of spending but reading about Alzheimer’s patients and women with cancer being denied drugs on the grounds of cost, at the same time as we’re pouring money in to prop up Granger’s Folly, makes me feel nauseous. The NHS IT project is broken and is not going to get better until there’s a radical re-examination of first principles. Until then, pouring money into it is like putting an elastoplast on a burst artery.

To those firms that are still thinking of outsourcing their call centre operations to India, stop and think, long and hard. Why are you doing this? Is it to provide a better service or simply because you can cut costs by employing cheap labour in foreign climes? If it’s the former, then proceed – albeit with caution. If it’s the latter, you deserve every drop in customer satisfaction that is coming your way. As for those who are eyeing up China with such ill-concealed avarice, maybe stopping to think about the ethical implications for a moment might be an idea. Bear in mind that the only really bad publicity that Google has had was as a result of its shameless decision to pander to dictators in Beijing and help them in their censorship of the internet. That’s really Web 2.0, innit? It used to be said in the US that only Nixon would go to China; now it’s any IT company with an eye to a fast buck.

Then there’s Steve Jobs and Apple: stop redesigning the iPod. It’s not big and it’s not clever and we’re not going to buy another one. (Well, not unless it’s really, really sexy….).

Finally, there’s Microsoft and Vista and… oh actually I really can’t be bothered. Let’s face it neither can you. Happy New Year everyone.