Dale Kutnick

AGE: 52

CLAIM TO FAME: Created the first retainer advisory service aimed at technology users while at Gartner Group Inc. in the late '70s; founded Meta Group Inc. in 1989 and took it public in 1995.

WHAT HE'S DOING NOW: Recently stepped down as Meta's CEO to focus full time on directing Meta's research. Currently chairman of the board and research director.

Given his view of IT's future, maybe it's no surprise that Dale Kutnick cites electronic spreadsheets and word processors as technology innovations that have affected him deeply.

"I remember VisiCalc," he says, noting his wonder at the capabilities of the first word processors. Such applications, Kutnick says, transformed his personal productivity -- and he says that is exactly what CEOs will demand from IT in the next decade.

Dale Kutnick of META Group Inc.
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Dale Kutnick of META Group Inc.
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"People will be scrutinizing IT expenditures, looking for productivity and efficiency increases," Kutnick says.

That means IT management must be more business-oriented. "We'll see real breakthroughs in, and better use of, analytics for real-time decision-making," he says.

Kutnick says he expects that companies that excel at making technology cheaper while still enabling its mass customization, including Microsoft Corp. and Dell Computer Corp/, will be key, influential players. Efficiency demands also will push outsourcing, which IBM and Electronic Data Systems Corp. will lead.

He says he also sees greater automation of business processes via the Internet. For example, adoption of standards-based transaction infrastructures like Microsoft's .Net should lead to more Web-based business services, Kutnick says.

Also, technology will automate itself. That is, the use of sensors and agents in networks and systems could lead to automatic provisioning and configuration, troubleshooting and systems management, he says.

But IT won't just help businesses create efficiencies in the next decade; Kutnick says he also expects it to reshape society and people's personal lives as it becomes pervasive.

"IT will help rationalize our society," he says. Technology, Kutnick says, can help people live more fulfilled lives, achieve a better balance between their work and personal lives and even help redistribute resources among haves and have-nots.

"We could see a renaissance as people adjust to a new computing paradigm," Kutnick says.

Watson is a freelance writer in Chicago. Contact her at sjwatson@interaccess.com.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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