John Lamb's Week: Clinton in Nawlins plus the technology and events you can't afford to miss

"Who better to kick-off the biggest event in ebusiness than former United States President Bill Clinton?" gushes a note from Oracle about the company's week long AppsWorld in New Orleans starting Monday.
Written by John Lamb, Contributor

"Who better to kick-off the biggest event in ebusiness than former United States President Bill Clinton?" gushes a note from Oracle about the company's week long AppsWorld in New Orleans starting Monday.

"Oracle is honoured that Mr Clinton, the first high-tech President, will share his unique perspective and insight on this rapidly changing landscape." Hmmm& It is certainly a coup to have the ex-President as a keynote, but calling him a high-tech President? However, with Clinton's current difficulties over White House sleaze there is no doubting his pulling power. Oracle boss Larry Ellison has already hired Clinton's former press secretary. And of course, with Ellison having had his brushes with the law, the pair of Presidents have even more in common. Business intelligence is the snappy term for describing the boring information that can help companies get a jump on the competition. With the right tools all those records of product purchases, service calls, internet experiences and online transactions can be put to good account to identify new customers, products and services. IBM top brass from around the world are treating the topic seriously enough to invite Jeff Hill, one of the company's top business intelligence consultants, to brief them on the subject in the UK. IBM customers you have been warned. After advice from Silicon Valley against investing in bargain basement high-tech shares - "don't catch falling knives", warned one commentator - there are still plenty of companies relatively untouched by market turbulence. The UK services company ITNet is one example. The former IT department of chocolate and beverages company Cadbury Schweppes is reporting year-end figures on Monday. They should be sweet for chief executive Bridget Blow. Although the company is hardly at the leading edge of technology, its outsourcing contracts, many to local authorities, are untouched by fashion. Indeed they are likely to generate even more revenue as local government falls in line with government modernisation plans and turns to service providers to deliver so-called best value. Meanwhile, yet another new economy consultancy will be announcing the end of the world, as we know it, on Tuesday. Dutch firm Escador warns that current ebusiness strategies in the UK are doomed to failure because those who devise them do not see the internet as a new economy. Naturally Escador has the answer. Theatre, among other techniques, is employed at its Idea Factory in West London to unlock managers' thinking and to stimulate innovation. Perhaps that is what they mean by pure-play internet businesses. Are open systems a credible alternative to proprietary software? That is a question that has still not been answered satisfactorily. There is no doubt that the idea of using an army of unpaid enthusiasts to put together complex software is unlikely to lead to quick results. But that did not deter Linux inventor Linus Torvalds from introducing an updated version of the operating system recently. This week the SuSE Linux company unveils a further extension that enhances the operating system's enterprise computing capabilities. The future of open systems software is probably a question for visitors to the Computer Trade Show on Wednesday and Thursday at the NEC Birmingham. The show will include 130 exhibitors and seminar sessions including a keynote on the future of the IT Channel. Further information is available at ctshow.co.uk. In the web development world interoperability is, as always, the big issue. So it is not surprising that as delegates to XML DevCon Europe gather for their annual jamboree in London, standards such as ebXML and UDDI are very much on their mind. XML DevCon takes place from Wednesday to Friday. For further information visit http://www.xmldevcon2001.com . More product launches and parties than you can shake a stick at the 3GSM show in Cannes from Tuesday to Saturday this week. Beneath all the razzmatazz there are some serious issues though. The less than soar-away flotation of Orange, concerns over the high cost of third-generation wireless licences in Europe and challenges from Japan, the home of the gizmo, will cast a shadow over the mobile phone fest.
Editorial standards